A little more adventurous than me at that age, but I was riding the Toronto subway by myself when I was 11 years old. By the time I was 13, I knew all the bus/streetcar and subway connections I’d need. So did my friends; we’d spend summertime weekday afternoons using free transfers riding the subways and streetcars, connecting where we could, and collecting more transfers (they were time-limited), so we could ride further and longer. At the end of the day, we’d spent one fare, but ridden all over the city.
Starting when I was 10, I’d take the subway from Queens into Manhattan with friends to spend the day in the city, when there was no school. I also occasionally went to Penn station, and got the LIRR to visit family on Long Island, by myself.
The times I flew by myself when I was 11 or 12, one of my parents would go to the airport with me, but by the time I was 15, I’d just get the bus by our house, go to the subway, and make my way to LaGuardia alone.
On the Indiana end it was a little different, because I flew into Indianapolis, and then needed to get to a city about 75 minutes south. I was fully prepared to take a Greyhound, but my family always met me at the airport.
When I made the same trip as an adult, though, I’d rent a car in Indy, and drive south.
My parents and my aunt and uncle who I lived with for a while, gave me all kinds of freedom. Once they let me go to King’s Island in Cincinnati when I was 16 with my boyfriend, who was 19.
When I was in my 30s, I remarked on it, and my mother said “Well, were you ever getting into trouble?”
“So we were right.”
Unaccompanied minor policies generally apply to children between the ages of 5-14 and it doesn’t mean they can’t fly alone, just that there are restrictions ( for example, only nonstop flights for certain ages) , some services ( for example, the child will only be released to a designated person on arrival , supervised lounges for those making connections, flight attendants will check on them when they can ,etc ) and of course a fee.
People still do let their kids fly unaccompanied- almost certainly more than they did when I was a kid because there are more reasons to do so now . My kids used to complain that we never took “flying vacations” like their friends - their friends weren’t flying for a vacation exactly. They were being sent to visit grandma for the summer so their parents could work - that didn’t really happen in my childhood (there were fewer two-income families)
I once sat next to a 17-yr-old unaccompanied minor who bitched about being treated “like a baby” the whole time. Maybe her parents had requested special services for her, or maybe it was just that airline.
Didn’t shut up no matter how hard I ignored her. I can see why her parents wanted to send her off somewhere for a couple of weeks.
Which is why I wear my headphones when flying. If someone taps me on the arm to ask me something, I sigh, then remove my headphones and put in my hearing aid. Then I answer their query as minimally as possible, remove my hearing aid and replace my headphones. Follow-up questions are ignored.
Are you a man?
I think people try harder to engage a woman, because people will not give up on me.
Once I was next to some woman, about age 50, and her granddaughter, Sinead. This woman was flying for the very first time in her life. I swear, I made eye contact with her once, when I first sat down, just for the usual, yes, we have the right seats sort of chit-chat, and after that, did not take my nose out of a book the whole time, but I got regaled with this woman’s entire biography, and that of her granddaughter, Sinead.
I’m a man, I’m a man
I’m a full grown man, baby
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh
All you pretty women
Stand in a line
I make love with you, baby
In an hour’s time.
(Tip of my hat to McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters.)
In my teens you could ride in the back of pick up trucks, drink while driving, get served at bars, disappear all day and night & say you couldn’t find a phonebooth to call & say you were late. Buy smokes at vending machines, make anonymous crank calls, never wear a seat belt. Usual 70’s shit.
I’ve always seen alcohol as over-the-counter Truth Serum.
My Ex’s older brother would wake up wicked early on Saturday morning.
Get the bus from Squirrel Hill to the airport. Fly to LaGuardia.
Take the bus into Manhattan. Subway to Julliard.
Classes all day. Dinner out at a local Chinese place with classmates.
Bus to LaGuardia.
Last flight home to Pittsburgh.
He was doing this from the age of about 12 on.
And, he was carrying a violin. Which nobody ever thought to touch. Or give him a hard time about.
My but those times have changed…