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Not comfortable with 9 yr old son travelling interstate alone

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   My son is 9 years old and his father (my ex) who moved interstate 1.5 yrs ago (from melb to small town approx 2 hours away from cairns) would like our son to visit. My son has never travelled alone especially on a plane. I do not feel comfortable him travelling alone how can I stop this from occuring?
You raise two interesting issues. Firstly the issue is can or should this 9 yo travel alone and on a plane internally in Australia and the second issue you raise is because you are not comfortable with this you want to stop it and are seeking ways to do that.

I will dwell for a moment on the first issue. A 9 year old is able to travel unaccompanied on the airlines. Many are doing it every couple of weeks. The drop off from a domestic airport is usually at the boarding gate, they are accompanied on board and or looked after on board or supervised on board by the air crew and are handed over at the air bridge at the other end to the nominated person. Airlines are skilled at this and have been doing it for a long time. There are special pages on most airline's web sites about younger passengers. The question is how confident would this child be in embarking on such an adventure. That would depend on how the visit is approached. If you are negative , against it, suggesting that air travel is intrinsically unsafe, that there are "bad people on the planes" and looking for all the reasons in the world why the 9 yo should not travel then it will probably suffice and put the child off the flight. There is nothing in the world more difficult to deal with and that is a  child who is not keen to participate in an activity. Try Saturday morning Cricket when they don't want to go!.

The second issue in relation to wanting to stop the event. If you are against the visit and there are no court orders or parenting plans in place then the lives with parent rules the roost so to speak… But lets step back a moment. Is the visit in the best interests of this young bloke? How long ago since the boy has seen his father? Do they have a relationship now via phone and web cam? It would seem to me to be quite an exciting adventure, a plane flight, a new town and house hold to explore and best of all catching up with dad for a short while. I assume it will be a school holiday period.

Is there a real problem with that happening? What about taking the opportunity to take a bit of time out yourself for a short trip somewhere or an outing or two you haven't done previously. If it is really such a big problem perhaps the father could come down and collect the child but at 9 years of age a unique opportunity has just presented itself. An opportunity for you to show some enthusiasm and excitement about such an adventure and perhaps cooperate as parents should in the best interests of the child. On the face of what is here I can't see any problems that should preclude the activity.






Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Yes, I must say the wording of the comment rings alarm bells. This is not "how can I make this easier/safer/etc" type of question - it's a straight out  "how can I stop this?" Not a good start to anything. 
I can appreciate your apprehension concerningyourchild travelling alone on the plane interstate.

Of course it depends on the child buta plane trip can also be a great adventure. But let me assure you, as the SPCA Secretary notes, the airlines have a very strict and comprehensive policy/procedure in place for unaccompanied minors. My own child has travelled alone many times on the plane to visit family and believe me the airline staff (Qantas & Virgin Blue), have been fantastic. They have always strictly followed the unaccompanied minor policy with ID at both ends of the plane trip, before releasing the child to the care of family picking them up.

The ID has to be a photo ID and the person picking up the childis the person nominated by the parent. If the aircrew have any doubts or the IDs of the family picking up the childis nota clear,current IDthey will ring you. Believe me they will ring you if any doubts.

In addition, on every trip my child sat with other unaccompanied minorsright in theback where the aircrew can keep an eye on them.

  • I regularly see unaccompanied minors when I fly. The children go the the plane last or first together with a crew member. First class service!
Hope this helps.
Secretary SPCA said
Thank you for this detailed response on how the procedure works
Thanks for all of your responses, its not that I dont want my child to go, his father was only in my town at a couple of months ago, my son has never travelled on his own let alone on a plane. The trip is from Melb to Cairns not exactly a short trip and my ex does'nt even pay appropriate child support! I have suggested to my ex to come and pick him up and return him for a the first couple of trips until my 9 year is familiar with flying but my ex refuses to do this and advised he will not pay for that! I have given other suggestions and such as I will go on a holiday to his destination and he can come and pick up our son from a appropriate location and he wont even agree to that. I just feel that I am going out of my way with my ex when he knew the impact his moving would have on our son.  
Kampen said
….. The trip is from Melb to Cairns not exactly a short trip and my ex does'nt even pay appropriate child support!
This makes me very nervous…  I am not sure I understand how the fact that he does not pay you adequate child support means the child cannot go on a trip to see him. Does it mean that if you were paid copious amounts of child support and showered with gold and silver ingots that a visit would be a very easy thing to arrange? For a minute I thought you had a momentary lapse and it was all just about the money and not the vist that was important. I know that is not the situation as I can see you are trying very hard to make this visit a success for all involved.
Kampen said
…I have suggested to my ex to come and pick him up and return him for a the first couple of trips until my 9 year is familiar with flying but my ex refuses to do this and advised he will not pay for that! I have given other suggestions and such as I will go on a holiday to his destination and he can come and pick up our son from a appropriate location and he wont even agree to that. I just feel that I am going out of my way with my ex when he knew the impact his moving would have on our son.  
Both good suggestions. Have you discussed with the boy in any positive way about having an adventure on a plan trip to see his Dad. What does he say about the prospect of such a trip. Has dad spoken to the boy about such a trip. It appears that seeing you off at the air bridge and seeing dad at the other end would be relatively painless for a 9 year old. All he needs to do is have fun on the plane with supportive aircrew looking after him.




Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
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