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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kids book and fly on Southwest Airlines all on their own

Aug 13, 2010

Bridget Brown, her brother Kodie Brown, and their neighbor, Bobby Nolan, wanted to take a trip to Dollywood, so Bridget took her babysitting money, went to the airport, bought tickets, and managed to board a Southwest Airlines flight without their parents ever knowing about it.

At 15, Bridget is the oldest and says it was her idea. She had been saving up her money from babysitting to buy a car, but on Tuesday, she decided that she, Kodie and Bobby should use that money to visit Dollywood – the amusement park in Tennessee.

“I wanted to fly on a plane,” Bridget said who had never flown on a plane before.

The trouble is they didn’t tell their parents. They paid for a cab to the airport – on their own. When they got there, they bought tickets from Southwest Airlines, spending US$700 – on their own, and then they passed through security – on their own.

“They [TSA] didn’t say anything to us, and we went over there and picked up our stuff and got on the plane,” said Bridget.

They flew a nice comfortable flight from Jacksonville to Nashville, but when they landed, they had a problem – they had flown into the wrong city. Dollywood is located in the town of Pigeon Force, Tennessee. Stranded and scared, they decided to call home. Bobby Nolan’s mother, Heather, said, “He said, ‘for real, I’m in Nashville, Tennessee, and I’m ready to come home; we want to come home.’”

Southwest Airlines and federal officials from TSA both issued statements trying to explain themselves. The TSA wrote that “kids under 18 don’t need to show an ID,” so the children were let through without one. Southwest said that “2 of the passengers were over the age of 12, and, therefore, could travel without a parent.” They allowed the 11-year-old to travel because “in this case he was accompanied by two older companions.” Their parents still can’t believe it.

Said James Brown, Bridget and Kodie Brown’s father, “I never would have dreamed my kid would have got on a plane without me or their mom, but they did.”

So who deserves to be grounded – the traveling trio or the airlines that let them fly?

Kids book and fly on Southwest Airlines all on their own

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