For those who are unaware, most airlines now make a charge for carrying "Unaccompanied Minors". In Britsh Airways' case, the charge is £32 per person for each sector. On BA metal, a child under 12 years old travels by him/herself, travelling as a "U.M." is compulsory, but whether a child over 12 years old is an"U.M. (escorted)" or travels totally without help is at the parents'/guardians' discretion.
It strikes me as disgraceful to see the teachers from well-known public schools depositing youngsters to infamous destinations and refusing to pay the "UM" charges.
For parents' / guardians' tempted to save the princely £32 fee, please consider the following:
1. "Meet and Assist" facilities will not be offered to young flyers and, in any case, a "Meet and Assist" request is not guaranteed (and with current staffing levels are unlikely).
2. The £32 fee makes BA legally responsible for the care of your child. In the unlikely event an aircraft diverts, or suffers an emergency evacuation, the first people the crew will look for are the "UM's". If overnight accommodation is necessary, BA will provide someone to remain with the UM's overnight.
3. All BA personnel responsible for "UM's" have undergone "Enhanced" criminal record checks and have been "cleared" by Disclosure Scotland to take responsibility for vulnerable people (children, elderly, disabled). Advising a child to ask other passengers for help could expose them to "nasty" prople.
4. The final responsibility lies with you! My children were fully street-wise and aware before they hit 12 years old, some of their friends I would not deem "responsible" even now that they are approaching 16! Even though I think my children can look after themselves, I would prefer to pay the £32 each for the peace of mind it would give!!!
And the £32 charge seems quite reasonable when you consider the manhours of (one assumes) specially trained 'UM' staff to accompany them thru the airport...and the parents should be more than comfortable to pay it to assure safety and security for their child...so why is it the problem/responsibility of the teachers/school to pay it? when to my mind anyway it rests with the parents...sorry Bealine haven't seen the full circumstance/story in the press...can u elaborate?
Sorry, BR, to elaborate the incident I refer to was not in the press. It was from a personal experience yesterday when a teacher from a well-known public school (which I respect and admire) delivered a couple of Spanish boys to the airport. I won't mention the school by name as I have no desire for them to receive undeserved bad publicity!
Now, I quite agree that the teacher shouldn't have to fork out, but there are such facilities as "Incidental Expenses" which can be added to the parents' bill at school-fees invoicing time!!! (I know 'cos "Incidental Expenses" were the cause of much frustration in the Bealine Senior household when I were a lad!!!)
Had I been in the teacher's shoes, I think I would have used my "plastic" and reclaimed the fee from the Bursar on my return, secure in the knowledge that the boys would arrive in Spain without incident!
Out of interest, at what age do parents start to send kids on aeroplanes alone, 5 years old, 8? 10? And is there any airline policy on this? Just interested for future reference.....SD junior is only 2, so it isnt going to be for a few years yet.... but with my family in the UK and Mrs SDs in France, I can see that I will be using this facility for SD junior at some point in the future, especially as he is quite happy to spend extended weekends by himself with either family already....
Speaking for BA, the policy is that a child can travel unaccompanied from the age of 5 years old (single sectors eg LGW-BOD) or 6 years old for multiple-sectors (LHR-SIN-MEL). The child(ren) should be capable of carrying their own cabin baggage.
The service is known as "Skyflyer Solo" For guidance please refer to: