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Dad ditches kid in coach to sit in Polaris leaving me to entertain him

Dad ditches kid in coach to sit in Polaris leaving me to entertain him

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Old Jul 17, 18, 7:23 pm
  #106  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
+1. In Japan in particular, but also in Hong Kong and parts of Europe with good public transportation kids go about their own business. Get on a train/subway in Japan and there will be 8-9-10 year olds off by themselves. We will let our kids (now 11 and 14) go off on their own in Hong Kong or Japan, they know their way around. And in San Francisco we know lots of kids who take the bus/light rail around, starting at about 11-12 y/o.

Not defending the parent here - it was too long of a flight to leave a kid by themselves - but kids don't need constant supervision if they are taught how to be independent.
That's how I was raised - on transit alone or with friends from age 10, able to handle myself in public and be independent, but never a burden and never putting myself at risk. I see little kids on JR trains in Tokyo all the time and they remind me of myself at that age - however in Japan, there are no obnoxious busy-body soccer moms and no trophies for "trying hard". Kids are not delicate flowers and in our generation, that's not how we were raised. I didn't get a trophy for trying, I got grounded for not trying enough.

If it was a child of that age from abroad, I would expect them to be completely independent and they would make a great seatmate (ie, not taking up my shoulder space), but it sounds from the OP's description this child was a typical American kid who needed constant interaction and supervision when not under hypnosis from the nearest electronic device. The helicopter father just baffles me - to abandon your child to 300 strangers while you sit upfront sipping cheap champagne with your feet up us just....just....baffling.
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Old Jul 18, 18, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
That's how I was raised - on transit alone or with friends from age 10, able to handle myself in public and be independent, but never a burden and never putting myself at risk. I see little kids on JR trains in Tokyo all the time and they remind me of myself at that age - however in Japan, there are no obnoxious busy-body soccer moms and no trophies for "trying hard". Kids are not delicate flowers and in our generation, that's not how we were raised. I didn't get a trophy for trying, I got grounded for not trying enough.

If it was a child of that age from abroad, I would expect them to be completely independent and they would make a great seatmate (ie, not taking up my shoulder space), but it sounds from the OP's description this child was a typical American kid who needed constant interaction and supervision when not under hypnosis from the nearest electronic device. The helicopter father just baffles me - to abandon your child to 300 strangers while you sit upfront sipping cheap champagne with your feet up us just....just....baffling.
It is not only American culture. You see this in Chinese culture (mainlanders) as well.

Unfortunately, I don't foresee a fix coming anytime soon. I believe it's even gotten worse and will continue to get worse. I do college interviews for a private university consistently in the top 5 and you would not believe the number of parents who attempt to contact me to 'help clarify' some things about their child, despite being told they should absolutely not be contacting me whatsoever. They even try and sneak it in before/after their childs' interview in person...IMO this is the leading cause of a child not being able to be 'independent'. It's hard to be independent if you always have someone cleaning up your messes or apologizing on behalf of you, or if you don't see the further ramifications of your own actions.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 1:48 am
  #108  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
That's how I was raised - on transit alone or with friends from age 10, able to handle myself in public and be independent, but never a burden and never putting myself at risk. I see little kids on JR trains in Tokyo all the time and they remind me of myself at that age - however in Japan, there are no obnoxious busy-body soccer moms and no trophies for "trying hard". Kids are not delicate flowers and in our generation, that's not how we were raised. I didn't get a trophy for trying, I got grounded for not trying enough.

If it was a child of that age from abroad, I would expect them to be completely independent and they would make a great seatmate (ie, not taking up my shoulder space), but it sounds from the OP's description this child was a typical American kid who needed constant interaction and supervision when not under hypnosis from the nearest electronic device. The helicopter father just baffles me - to abandon your child to 300 strangers while you sit upfront sipping cheap champagne with your feet up us just....just....baffling.
Depends on the child - some are fine at 10 and some are incapable - alas true for adults too

I tend to be less helicopter than most parents here in the burbs but no way I would take an upgrade in a separate cabin until my kids are teens. All it takes is one incident for your kid to be scarred by some perv. with FAs that do nothing. Now some 8 year olds would be smart and self confident enough to scream bloody murder but then you have some reports of teens who had tears in their eyes for hours while enduring all kinds of harassment. No upgrade is worth that even when 99.99% of flyers are good people.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 5:14 am
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I think there are two separate issues here.

First, it's clear that the child should have been treated as an unaccompanied minor. That is UA's policy, and I've seen it enforced.

Second, beyond that, it seems like this is a case of having a seatmate you'd rather not have. That's life. UA allows children; specifically UM's. When you buy your UA ticket you know it's a possibility that you will be seated next to a UM whose parent is not on the flight, or is in a different cabin. The OP does not have to be happy about it, and certainly could have asked the FA to facilitate a seat swap, but sometimes you just gotta live with it. Like sitting next to an adult who cuts his toenails during the flight. The joys of flying commercial.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 9:49 am
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Airline rules don’t matter unless the FA’s think they matter. Years ago, after having seats together (3 + 2 — one parent plus 2 small boys, 1 parent plus 1 toddler) for months ahead of time, my family was broken up at the last minute into 5 separate coach seats on a NW flight from MSP to SFO. One of the 5 seats was for a purchased seat for my 18-month-old daughter. No amount of begging the gate agent could remedy this. She insisted the FA would take care of it. The FA would not take care of it. She literally just shook her head and said, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps she was hoping I’d give up the baby’s seat and hold her on my lap, but I told her that I was also sorry, but that obviously I could not supervise, help or be responsible for the toddler from 4 rows back and therefore I expected her to take care of my daughter for 4 hours. Suddenly she was able to rouse herself out of her fugue state to do some rearranging. The lesson I learned was FA’s can do or not do whatever they want regardless of rules.
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Last edited by dalehill; Jul 20, 18 at 9:51 am Reason: nonsense typos
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Old Jul 20, 18, 4:32 pm
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This happened to me on a flight from LHR. I had the aisle seat and sitting in the window seat was a young person maybe 11 or 12 years old. After about three hours of flying, I asked him if he was traveling alone and he said "I have people on the plane." Well, his "people" did not make an appearance for the entire 8 hour flight and this child was understandably bored. The entertainment system was malfunctioning so he entertained himself by raising and lowering the window shade repeatedly as well as the tray table. He did some singing and talking to himself. The plane was full so I couldn't change seats. At one point, I went all the way to back of the plane to use the toilet, came back, buckled in and closed my eyes. I felt a tap on my arm and he said "I need to go to the bathroom." Sigh. Seat belt comes back off. He did try to sleep at one point which was awesome except that he angled himself in such a way that his legs were in my under seat space. I actually felt sorry for him that nobody came to check on him for the entire flight.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 5:59 pm
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This made “one mile at a time” website

https://liveandletsfly.boardingarea....economy-class/
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Old Jul 20, 18, 8:15 pm
  #113  
 
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As the parent of a 9 year old who is well traveled, I still wouldnít sit so far away that I couldnít see him and spring into action if needed. Iíve never sat in a different cabin. And while J is, I agree, basically wasted on him, at least he is near me.

My kid is well behaved, courteous, and fairly independent. But sometimes needs help with a difficult seat belt or a tray table thatís stuck or reaching the light button. Thatís my responsibility as a parent. And frankly if I had to sit next to someone elseís child and converse or assist regularly, Iíd be very annoyed. Parenting can be exhausting, especially during travel, and I do think itís inappropriate to put that on a stranger.

Iíd also say that a child is different than an annoying seat mate. Kids have different needs and certainly donít have the life experiences of an adult.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by laxmillenial View Post
It is not only American culture. You see this in Chinese culture (mainlanders) as well.
You may see that in today's mainland Chinese children but that's a product of the single child policy and the resulting Golden Child syndrome, NOT Chinese culture per se. Growing up in Hawaii, Asian kids were not perfect (far from it!) but were generally expected to behave in public (more so than the haole kids anyway). So-called parents that shrug their shoulders and say, "kids, what can you do?" as the little hellion misbehaves irritate the heck out of me - they are breeding the next generation of miscreants.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 2:30 pm
  #115  
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So many parenting experts in here. My parents used to fly in First or Business and leave my brother and me in coach. We survived.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
We survived.
But did your neighbors? Maybe after their flight they ranted to their friends that they had to make conversation to two kids that did not stop chattering........
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Old Jul 21, 18, 4:09 pm
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My daughter has always flown in the same cabin as us ever since she was 8 months old for the last 21 years, in economy, business and first. I have never considered leaving her in economy while my wife and I sat in business or first, including LH First and TG First.

The dad is selfish
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 21, 18 at 4:17 pm Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
So many parenting experts in here. My parents used to fly in First or Business and leave my brother and me in coach. We survived.
but you prob annoyed the heck out of your seat mates.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 7:12 pm
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I travel often with my kid, now 10. She has a United profile with her birthdate and I always check the correct age box when I purchase her ticket. However, United always splits our reservation to add me, the Premier, to the upgrade list. I decline the upgrade so I can sit with her but that means we now have separate record locator numbers! It's complicated if there is a change to the itinerary.
My point is that United intentionally separates me from my kid!
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Old Jul 21, 18, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
The kid was on the same plane as a parent. Even separated in the plane by a cabin, it sounds much safer than letting a kid of this age to play on his/her own or with friends around bodies of water at or near their own homes/schools/activities where they spend hours on end doing what kids do. While I think the parent should have done an informal downgrade/swap with the child's seatmate/OP, I think the safety excuse is just a bad excuse. There aren't that many places in the world as safe as being on the OP's commercial flight plane.
I 100% agree on there being no safety issue. The real issue is if the kid was not independent enough to not bug their seatmate. I see the issue being - it appears - a parent fobbing off their kid who was unprepared to be by themselves onto a stranger.

I might add that we have friends in Hong Kong who sent their then 10 year old to see us in San Francisco, and then then came about a week later. She travelled as a UM, but the reality is that she was in effect by herself for 13 hours. But she is self-sufficient. I would leave my kids (now 11 and 14) and would have left my daughter after about age 9-10) on a plane sitting by themselves, but that is because they would not have bothered anyone....

Originally Posted by porciuscato View Post
Before the change in UM, my 12 year old flew alone all the time. No big deal. I have also put teenagers in the back while my wife and I sat in front. 3 out of 4 times, the FAs have come up to my wife and commented what a pleasure it was to have them aboard.

I would much rather sit next to an 8 year-old than an corpulent businessman who takes up both armrests and needs to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Kids are great.
I made that point earlier, rather have an 8 year old than a typical American, especially on UA with its ultra-narrow seats in Y. When I was a kid I first flew as a UM when I was 9 (with my sister then 5) TUL-DEN-SEA, then back. No issues, and it was not like the FAs sat with us. We were polite and did not bug our seat mates.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If it was a child of that age from abroad, I would expect them to be completely independent and they would make a great seatmate (ie, not taking up my shoulder space), but it sounds from the OP's description this child was a typical American kid who needed constant interaction and supervision when not under hypnosis from the nearest electronic device. The helicopter father just baffles me - to abandon your child to 300 strangers while you sit upfront sipping cheap champagne with your feet up us just....just....baffling.
I would say that if your kid is going to be an issue for someone, then its self-centered and inappropriate to leave them like this, but its not per-se inappropriate. YMMV.
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