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  #21  
Old 25.09.2011, 20:07
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

If he connects in London make sure he doesn't have to change terminal. Have you checked other European airport to connect at like Frankfurt or Amsterdam?

You may also want to check out the so called VIP service that many airports offer. Its often surprisingly affordable.
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  #22  
Old 25.09.2011, 20:40
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

Just to give you peace of mind, we have also travelled with large amounts of medication. All liquid - which of course is a problem with the ban on liquids. So we just have a letter from the doctor on his letterhead explaining that my child needs the medication, what it is for and that it must be carried as hand luggage and not checked in.

We have travelled through Zurich, Singapore, Sydney and Brisbane airports and all of them have read the letter, looked at the medication and waved us through.

I hope this is also what happens to your son.
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  #23  
Old 25.09.2011, 20:47
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

Oh, now everyone thinks I'm suuuuch a helicopter mom. Which I'm not. He's traveled within the States a fair amount and he's fine on his own there, but he's not familiar with Heathrow. And yeah, pretty sure he'd have to switch terminals.

Tilia, flying from where he's coming from, his only option is London.

Swisspea, that's what I do when I'm traveling with him - ask what they need to see and cooperate completely. But I'm thinking, he's a teenager, will probably be sleep-deprived, and is probably pretty fed up with always being the odd guy out in the security line. So extra time is probably a good idea.

KF, I wasn't suggesting accompaniment would lessen the scrutiny. Security is there for a reason. And of course the airline staff couldn't do the talking for him. But they COULD get him to the right terminal for his connecting flight after he has to stand aside, completely unpack, maybe undress, talk to 3 different officials, then collect whatever he had going through, making sure he has every single one of his dozen or so meds. And other passengers do get impatient with us, which creates another distraction.

All of your feedback is helpful, though. It's gratifying to hear from other people who are in (somewhat) the same boat. It would definitely be harder to deal with needles. I'll go for peace of mind and low stress for all concerned every time, since it's supposed to be a fun and interesting trip for him, not a lesson in civil liberties. I'm just trying to cover all the bases. If my plan's not watertight, it's not gonna happen at all.
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  #24  
Old 25.09.2011, 21:25
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

If he is used to fly within the US, isnt it better to make the connection i the US and then a direct flight to Zurich? I woulnt do a connection at Heathrow myself if it meant changing terminals and I would dedinitely not have my kids doing it.

Btw, my bag got picked out at Heathrow T3 last week. Ive never seen anything as bad in Europe ever as the treatment I got and the time it took.
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Old 26.09.2011, 00:31
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

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Oh, now everyone thinks I'm suuuuch a helicopter mom.
No! Not at all. I'm a bit of "helicopter mom" and I'm not even a mom.

But we all need to eventually sort it out for ourselves one day. Why not start now? He'll be fine!! And he will be happy he did it himself. You can read up on where he might connect online first to give him a head start.

Anyway, if he has "one of those faces" like my BIL who gets stopped ALL the time even when he is clean cut & buttoned up, he will have to learn to accept it. Seriously, BIL gets stopped so much he's just used to it now. He's got that sort of bad boy look that girls love but official types hate! lol.
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  #26  
Old 26.09.2011, 09:07
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

Yes, most airlines do offer an unaccompanied minor service, I have used it many times for my daughter when she was younger. It offered great peace of mind. (approximately $100 each way, for this they will accompany the minor to the designated pick up person on the other side)

However for a 17 year old I would go with what he wants, offer the UM service but realistically a letter from the doc (detailing the meds) with someone available on a mobile phone if needed should solve most problems.

If he is flying thorough Heathrow I would allow 2.5 hours though, especially if you expect any termainal changes, just to prevent him getting stressed with delays.


good luck, happy flying
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  #27  
Old 26.09.2011, 09:24
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

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OK, so I'm hoping to get my son in the States here for a visit. He'd be flying from an airport where there would be no direct flights to Zurich, so his best option is to fly to London and change there. He's 17, so old enough and smart enough to figure this out, but the fact is, it would take him longer to get through security and/or customs than most people for a particular reason, and he's usually got me to help.

So I'm wondering: do airlines have a service to help people like that? And does it cost? Would the best option be for me to take a cheap flight to London and meet him there? I'd do that, but only if absolutely necessary.
I very unhelpfully provided the meet-and-greet service for Lufthansa, without reading your email carefully enough to realise that your son is arriving at Heathrow. So let me try again...

At Heathrow, you can arrange a meet-and-greet escort service:

Quote:
Q: I do not have a disability but would still like some help?
A: You could try our meet and assist service, Diamond Air. They can assist with non-English speakers who need a guiding hand. Call +44 (0)20 8897 9183 to find out more. If it is simply help with luggage, Skycaps are available on +44 (0)20 8745 6011.
They have a website here: http://www.diamond-air.co.uk/

The cost for a Transit Assist is GBP140-. They'll meet your son at the plane door, escort him through security, and get him to his connecting flight.

Hope this information is marginally more helpful than the Lufthansa info!
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  #28  
Old 26.09.2011, 10:38
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

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medications aren't a reason for a person to be stopped by Customs unless a person has a history of smuggling illegal steroids are large quantities (greater than a 90 day supply).
The limit is normally just 30 days!

Especially when traveling inside Schengen area, some explanation in English. For EACH drug the traveler needs a separate form filled in by the Doctor and certified by a issuing authority (in Switzerland this is delegated to the pharmacy) the form can be found on the Swissmedic website. For travelling outside Schengen area i found this multilingual sample form.
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Old 26.09.2011, 10:50
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

Also found on the website of the International Narcotics Control Board this guideline regarding Switzerland. They have also some general traveler guidelines.

A sample form that fulfills the Swiss requirements can be found, once again on the Swissmedic website.
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  #30  
Old 26.09.2011, 13:00
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Re: Airline help for an unaccompanied NON-minor?

I totally agree with Tialia, I would avoid Heathrow at all costs. Too many bad experiences and missed flight when flying through there .

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If he is used to fly within the US, isnt it better to make the connection i the US and then a direct flight to Zurich? I woulnt do a connection at Heathrow myself if it meant changing terminals and I would dedinitely not have my kids doing it.

Btw, my bag got picked out at Heathrow T3 last week. Ive never seen anything as bad in Europe ever as the treatment I got and the time it took.
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