Travel Influencer Mom-Shamed for Leaving Son in Economy To Fly Business Class
Photo Credit: Pew Nguyen

Photo Credit: Pew Nguyen

Travel Influencer Mom-Shamed for Leaving Son in Economy To Fly Business Class

family travel , news , Travel News
Jasmine Osby
Jasmine Osby May 18, 2023

A social media influencer has come under fire after leaving her son in economy to fly in business class with her husband. Now, the internet is buzzing about whether or not the mom made the right decision to leave her child alone. 

Karen “Kay” Akpan told The New York Post she’s a digital nomad who travels full time with her husband and son, Aiden. The family travels internationally and by RV often, so when Kay and her husband had an opportunity to upgrade their economy seats to business class, she took the opportunity. 

Unfortunately, 10-year-old Aiden didn’t have the proper flyer status to get the complimentary upgrade, so the young man spent the long flight alone in economy. 

“POV: Enjoying business class with my husband on a 13-hour flight while our 10-year-old sits in the back in economy class because he doesn’t have United Premier 1K status like we do and didn’t get a complimentary upgrade,” Akpan wrote in a caption on Instagram. 

Her 305,000 followers proceeded to chime in, and not everyone was pleased.

“Sorry Son” 

Accompanied by three laughing emojis, Kay posted “Sorry son” on social media and asked her followers if they would leave their child to fly alone. Folks on Tik Tok perceived Kay’s post as a joke and laughed along with the travel influencer

“See you there son,” one online user joked, according to Your Tango

As followers watched her and her husband enjoy beverages and comfort in business class, some weren’t happy with Kay’s choice and felt like she put her son in an unsafe situation. “I think it’s highly irresponsible to leave your 10-yr-old to be seated alone for a 1-hour flight so I couldn’t imagine a 13-hour flight,” expressed another woman. She also commented saying Kay was “taking content-making too far.”

Too Young To Fly Alone?

Photo Credit: Vlada Karpovich

Kay’s social media post ignited a conversation about what the appropriate age is for children to fly alone. Many online users felt 10 years old was an inappropriate age for a child to be left alone on a flight. The mom-shaming that ensued led to arguments throughout Kay’s comments section. 

“This is what happens when you weren’t wanted by ready parents,” one user said about Kay’s parenting decisions.

Kay responded jokingly back to critics in the comment section who criticized her for taking the upgraded seats. However, a few of her followers defended the traveling mom saying it’s not uncommon for young children to fly solo. 

“Do parents not let their kids fly alone anymore?” the person asked. “I [used] to fly alone around his age to see family around the country. At least with you in the plane he can be checked on periodically.”

According to the Department of Transportation, most U.S. airlines allow children 5 years and older to fly unaccompanied. Age regulations vary depending on the airline with limitations on direct and connecting flights based on the age of the child passenger. Once children reach the age of 12, or 15 depending on the airline, they are considered a “young adult” passenger.

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