15 Year Old Flying by Himself

Old Jul 22, 12, 5:23 pm
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15 Year Old Flying by Himself

My son will be flying IAD-SFO-PDX next week by himself (first time for him) and I have a few questions.

1) He loves flying, he's been to all three of these airports 10+ times so navigation is no issue. He will be flying as a young adult (no UM service) and he will do OCLI and will not check any bags. My wife is going to drop him off at IAD, so when he gets to security is there anything special at this stage? Will he be asked any certain questions or have any issues here? He will have his military ID just in case.

2) Is there something he has to fill out or tell the GA or FA's? I'm assuming not but I just want to make sure.

Thanks for the help! Any additional information that would be helpful is welcome!
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:25 pm
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I'm afraid I can't answer your questions, but I was reassured by reading your post that the mental image of the thread title wasn't warranted. Glad to see he won't be at the controls flying solo...
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Passmethesickbag View Post
I'm afraid I can't answer your questions, but I was reassured by reading your post that the mental image of the thread title wasn't warranted. Glad to see he won't be at the controls flying solo...
He does want to be a pilot when he grows up
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:35 pm
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No issues I can imagine that you haven't already considered.

Personally, when I was 15, I thought I knew a lot, and would've flown alone if I had to.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:35 pm
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My girls, now 16 and 14 respectively, have been flying without UM status for several years. In fact they just got back from a trip to the grandparents last night.

He doesn't need to tell anyone anything and does not need ID.

Talk to him about what to do if there are IROPS during the trip. Hopefully he's flying early enough that there would be a later flight to PDX if he were to miss his connecting flight for whatever reason.

Hopefully he has a credit or debit card if he wants to buy an onboard meal. Also a way to purchase a meal at SFO if he is hungry and has time.

Remind him of the time zone changes.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:35 pm
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No. He is a completely normal passenger. I'm 100% positive.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:38 pm
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Thanks guys for all the tips and help. He will have money but no card so he'll have to get food airside. Thanks again
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:40 pm
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Hey,

15 years old here I've been perfectly fine flying, both internationally and domestically. The hardest question I've gotten was who was going to pick me up, and this was by the "speedy" and very inquisitive UK border agents.

Nothing from FA's or GA's as far as I know. But definitely make sure he has some form of ID.

Cheers,
Zoui21
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:40 pm
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And most 15 YOs have cell phones these days and he should call you if there are any IRROPs. At 15 he could even get an exit seat but I don't recommend that for an inexperienced flyer.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:40 pm
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Sometimes my daughter (15, no ID) gets asked her name and/or age at the security theater checkpoint. Assuming he knows those two things that should be it Good suggestions to make sure he has a card for BOB, etc.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:42 pm
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I flew my first solo TATL at 14 and then a lot of flying on my own and never ran into any problems.

Additionally, I don't know what airline he's on, but both united, US, et. al. consider 15 as full adult for travelling purposes. (accept you can't accompany someone even younger)
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:50 pm
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Thanks again for all the help. I might use miles to put him up into F so food won't be an issue. He has about 250,000 miles with UA (the airline he's on, sorry I didn't make that clear). He will have some ID on him. Only issue I'm worried about is my wife getting him there on time, she is usually fairly easy going on traveling and never leaves before she feels the need (him and I love getting to the airport early) to lol.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:55 pm
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I wonder what would happen if he ran into IRROPS that required an overnight stay at the connecting airport? With no card, I would think no hotel, and probably not even with a card at that age.

I do think that a mature 15 y.o. can travel by themselves just fine in most circumstances, but I would be concerned about problems that minors cannot resolve because of age restrictions, no matter how mature they are.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by coolcoil View Post
I wonder what would happen if he ran into IRROPS that required an overnight stay at the connecting airport? With no card, I would think no hotel, and probably not even with a card at that age.

I do think that a mature 15 y.o. can travel by themselves just fine in most circumstances, but I would be concerned about problems that minors cannot resolve because of age restrictions, no matter how mature they are.
He's scheduled to arrive at 2pm so no worries about staying overnight. I agree with you about other issues.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Passmethesickbag View Post
I'm afraid I can't answer your questions, but I was reassured by reading your post that the mental image of the thread title wasn't warranted. Glad to see he won't be at the controls flying solo...
With a student pilot certificate and the appropriate endorsement, a 15-year-old can fly gliders and balloons solo.
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