What Everyone Should Do When They Board a Plane

Published by Anne McDermott at August 13, 2014

This may seem incredibly obvious, but we're going to say it anyway: The moment you board your plane, make sure it's heading to the city you think it is. Make sure it's heading to the right destination.

LISTEN: FareCompare's Rick Seaney says, if you're in doubt speak up!

Adults on Wrong Planes

Don't laugh. Mistakes have happened. It's even happened to a guy who runs the largest domestic airline in the U.S. – Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.

According to USA Today, Kelly boarded a flight in San Francisco and believed he was heading home to Dallas. He was not. "An hour into the flight, I discovered that we were en route to JFK [in New York] – not DFW. Yikes!" It's a fun story mainly because nothing terrible happened; after all, adults can fend for themselves. It's another matter when children are involved – children flying solo.

Tips for children traveling alone

Kids on Wrong Planes

A few years ago, there was a flurry of stories about youngsters traveling by themselves being put on wrong flights by the airlines that were paid to escort the kids. One child, for example was supposed to go to Cleveland but wound up in Boston; another had parents waiting for him in North Carolina but they had quite a wait since the child was in Arkansas.

  • What did the kids and Kelly have in common? They didn't ask where they were going.

Don't Be Embarrassed

Some airline crews automatically say, "This is the flight to Pittsburgh" but if this doesn't happen, ask the first flight attendant you see where the aircraft is heading. If this is too embarrassing (it shouldn't be), ask your seatmate.

Children traveling by themselves should be taught to ask automatically but if the child is very young or you're afraid he/she will forget, use the old pin-the-note-on-the-coat trick: "I am going to [city]," the note should say, "and if I'm on the wrong plane, please tell me." Make sure the child has parental cell phone numbers on his person as well as his own cell – and make sure he knows how to use it.

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