Did our child travel solo during a pandemic?
The answer is yes. We let our child travel during a pandemic. Not only that, but she did it totally and completely alone. Did we forget to mention that this was during the notoriously busy holiday season? This may sound irresponsible or reckless, but we can assure you it was done thoughtfully and with her health and safety in mind. After letting airlines work out the kinks of accommodating travelers safely during a pandemic and having traveled to Las Vegas briefly ourselves, we felt confident enough to allow her to take a short flight by herself.
As a sixteen year old, she was past the age in which an airline representative would accompany her to any gates and ensure she made it to her flights in a timely manner. This meant placing the responsibility squarely upon her shoulders. However, she is a seasoned traveler and already had a firm foundation of proper traveling etiquette. We trusted her to adhere to local and federal travel mandates. We also made sure to provide her with things such as antibacterial wipes and gel so that she could sanitize her personal space. She was in constant contact with us through text messaging as she navigated through the various airports on the way to her destination.
On top of ensuring that she arrived at the correct gates with a sufficient amount of time, we were constantly reminding her to wash her hands and not touch her face. She is a teenager, and the constant barrage of texts were eventually met with good natured, but pithy responses. She participated in the required temperature checks, and she wore her mask during the duration of her travel.
According to her, the amount of air travelers had increased since our quick jaunt to Las Vegas. As such, she maintained her distance from people as much as possible. Because planes had far more travelers on them than in July, they were not spaced out as comfortably. However, our daughter told us that she never felt that she was in danger of infection. She made it to Columbia, SC safely and enjoyed her visit immensely. By the time she began her journey home, she was well versed in what to expect at the airport. She felt more comfortable and had less anxiety about traveling solo.
Needless to say, she returned home safely and in one piece. It has been nearly a month since her return, and she remains a picture of health. While allowing a child to travel during a pandemic isn't ideal, we felt confident in her abilities and trusted the airlines to have precautions to protect air travelers from the virus.