So, my 14 yr old son, Hasan, has been a frequent flyer since he was five. Every summer, Christmas and Spring Break I pack him up and send him on his way to visit his dad or mine. Each time it was bitter sweet. He would leave and I’d be nervous about how he’d behave on the plane without me and if he’d be safe.
The upside was I had a few days to do what I wanted and needed, which often times was simply to rest. Well, the days of fear have quickly subsided, we’ve both become accustom to these times and it’s safe to say, we look forward to them. I’m sure any parent of a teenager would understand.
Amidst the hundreds of trips, and over the past eight years, airlines have increased the fees for unaccompanied minors. What started out as a $25 fee has multiplied in excess of $100. Yes, that on top of a $300 flight. In any event, the day finally came and we no longer have to pay an unaccompanied minor fee. (I’m thanking my lucky stars!) But as the burden of paying unaccompanied minor fees subsides, other fears come into play.
This past spring break Hasan made his first unaccompanied trip. Although I’ve always known he was more than capable of following signs, reading the giant screens or simply asking airport personnel for help, I still worried. “What if he’s met by a clever stranger, or sits at the wrong gate in the wrong hanger?” or ”What if he gets on a flight that stops in another city and he gets off thinking it’s his final destination?” As we know as parents we always worry.
Thankfully, he made it to and from Denver in one piece without a hitch. But now he’s off to Italy for the summer to visit friends and all those fears have quickly resurfaced thanks to this 17 1/2 hour trip. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I wouldn’t dare give him one reason to worry about his trip. I just wonder, as parents do we ever stop worrying?