So last night, we were prepping for the FPK to fly out to Austin to spend time with his Texas cousins and go to church camp. He’s flown out west and oup north along before, but he always had the “Unaccompanied Minor” treatment. You know- the pre-boarding and lanyard, being watched over by the attendants. Well, as of this year, he has aged out of that sort of treatment, so I wasn’t entirely sure how that would work.
I called Southwest (our air carrier of choice) and found out that the TSA requires some proof if identity for parent and child when flying unaccompanied. That means a copy of the birth certificate or passport or something for the young ones. From 12 to 17- no ID required. Nor do they have to have a parent with an ID. How squirrelly is that? I mean that is the age at which we have kids going sideways and shooting or blowing up classmates, but they can get on a plane unattended without showing an ID???
But I digress… the nice person I talked to indicated that he thought it was nuts (apparently the official SWA stance is only slightly less incredulous), and that they’d really prefer that a parent be there to assist young flyers. So, they do not charge extra for relatives to come to the counter and get a pass for security to drop off and pick up their kids at the gate. He even allowed that it would even make sense for someone to send off a 19-year-old heading out the basic training for the first time, based on his personal experience. In the end, he said SWA recommends minors carry some sort of ID, even though no one would be likely to ask for it.
So, we went in search of the Boy’s most recent passport. We got it last time we went to London. He was 8 at the time, and now he’s 13. We all had a good laugh at the idea of him flashing the photo of the pudgy little man that he used to be. Not a security person in the country would be able to hold back a snicker when comparing that face to the young man standing there now. We’ll have to renew before February… that one would be good until he turns 18. I can hardly wait to see what changes come between here and there!