It can be fun when it’s you flying solo, but not when it’s your kid. Your heart suffers more turbulence than a plane caught in a Kansas tornado. But divorced moms must face the reality of sending their kids off alone on a plane for a scheduled visit with Dad.
However, don’t labor over it — even on Labor Day weekend. There are several procedures you can follow that are as essential as safety belts and more healthy than popping Valium:
• With the increase of divorced kids flying alone, airlines now make provisions for them. The kids are called UM’s – as in unaccompanied minor. Instead of making their airline reservation via internet, you should call the airlines, since they require information on who will deliver the child and who will pick the child up at the destination.
• The person who delivers the child to the plane and the person who picks the child up must both have photo IDs and cell phones.
• The parent will be given a pass to accompany the child to the departure gate and must stay until the flight takes off. Kids age 5 to 7 can fly nonstop only.
• UM’s require an extra payment – usually around $25 – and this will include the cost of the airline staff watching over them on the flight and ushering them to meet the other parent at arrival gate. If there are two kids flying solo, it will be only one fee.
• Prepare your child by calling it an adventure and spell out all the procedures so that he or she will know what to expect.
• Don’t rely on Jetblue’s TV screens to occupy them the whole time. Just in case, send them off with coloring books, cards, and a few games.
• Pack an extra snack because, just like you, they may sneer at airline food – if they are offered any. Hungry kids are cranky kids. You don’t want passengers to howl in protest.
• Kids feel safe and secure when there is something familiar with them, like a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or doll.
• Dress them in bright colors, so they are noticeable. And that includes shoes. Even with sneakers, buy orange or cobalt blue laces so your kid stands out. Or put a special baseball cap or necklace around them to separate them from the pack, in case that actually happens – which it rarely does.
• Make sure that you have contact numbers and medical information in their pocket or backpack. Remind them that they are carrying this information and where it is as well as that they are loved and will have a great time on this adventure.
Now all you have to do is go home and wait for the phone call that they are safely with your ex. And now it’s time for you to have fun too.
Click the following to return a directory of articles and resource videos on Kids, Family and Divorce.