NO PLANES? WHAT ABOUT TRAINS AND BUSES?
Trains and buses are not nearly as accommodating as planes to children traveling alone.
Amtrak has seen the same increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children passengers but has much tighter rules than the airlines:
Unaccompanied children must be 8 or over.
Children under 12 cannot travel alone on an overnight train, nor can they travel on a train scheduled to arrive at its destination after 8 p.m.
Unaccompanied children must travel to a staffed station.
“We’ve seen a lot more of these kids, especially those traveling between divorced parents,” said Amtrak spokesman Arthur Lloyd. “In California, we see them mostly on the L.A.-to-San Diego or the San Francisco-to-Bakersfield runs because those meet our restrictions.”
Lloyd said Amtrak advises parents to prepare their children for unaccompanied train travel just as they would prepare them for flight. He said conductors are notified of children traveling alone and look out for them.
“But the most important advice of all is to tell kids not to speak to strangers and that if they have any trouble to find a uniformed trainman,” Lloyd said.
Children under 12 are not allowed to ride unaccompanied on Greyhound, the major long-distance bus line serving Orange County.