Questions Raised After 15-Year Old And Friends Fly Without Parents

Mischievous teens who managed to get aboard a Southwest Airlines jet have raised questions about who can buy tickets.
A 15-year old Florida girl used her babysitting money to buy tickets for herself, a 13-year old friend and her 11-year old brother to fly to Nashville without parents knowing it.  She ordered the tickets over the phone, bought them at the counter and Whitney Eichinger of Southwest says that’s the way the system works for children.
They were visiting the girl’s grandmother in Nashville.  She immediately put them back on a return flight.  Southwest reimbursed the cost.

  • Joe Listener

    Anyone who gets on a plane or even through security these days who isn’t “seen off” by an ID-toting parent or guardian should either have ID at the time they go through security and board OR they should have their ID and photo on file with the airline ahead of time. If you are 12-17 and are flying without an acceptable picture ID, you should color-fax or email the ID you have like a high school ID along with supporting identification like your parents’ driver’s license and a note from the school saying the parents are your parents. When you get to the gate the airline matches your school ID to your face and to what they have about you on file. No picture ID? No problem, fax or email in a non-photo ID like a report card or letter addressed to you along with a photo of yourself, then present both to the ticket agent. For security purposes, the airlines need to know who you are and they need time to verify the identity to make sure you are really “17 year old John Smith” and not “20 year old Adam Jones, who is on the no-fly list.”

    • Ana

      My parents sent me to India when I was 12. I had to wear a badge that identified me as an Unaccompanied Minor.

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