10:51 26 February 2016
For generations, British Airways has flown thousands of children around the world with “flying nannies.”
However, this service is about to end as the company tries to cut cost.
The airline’s move has angered parents who will now be forced to fly thousands of miles to pick up or deliver their offspring.
The move is not widely publicised but BA told passengers that while existing tickets will be honoured, no new bookings for the “Unaccompanied Minor” (UM) service will be allowed.
The message read: “The airline will continue to take bookings for 12 to 18-year-olds who wish to fly independently. However, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult aged 16 or over.”
A spokesman added: “Despite the overall growth in our customer numbers over the last decade, demand for our unaccompanied minor service has declined by two thirds, falling by 21 per cent in the last year.”
The writer and historian, Juliet Barclay, was a UM as a child. She recalls: “I flew regularly between London and the Caribbean with my younger brother and a crowd of other children on BA flights. Sometimes we were allowed to help distribute meal trays.
“We all belonged to the Junior Jet Club. Almost always we were taken onto the flight deck. We had logbooks which the Captain would fill in and sign on each flight, and every time you notched up another 25,000 miles the airline sent you a very elegant certificate.”