DEAR ABBY: Last Christmas I was blessed with a visit from my daughter and her family. When it came time for them to leave, however, my granddaughter cried her heart out. We couldn't get the tears to stop until I said, "Let's ask Mom if you can spend part of the summer with me." My daughter agreed, but now I am faced with a problem. The trip entails two or three changes of airplanes.
When I discussed my concern with a friend, she told me that her granddaughter had made a plane trip requiring two airplane changes each way. In order to ensure her safety, my friend gave the flight attendant $40 ($20 for each plane the child was taking). This was done for the return trip also. I was surprised that she had tipped the flight staff, but she assured me that this is what is done today.
Is tipping a requirement to guarantee the safety of a child flying alone, or do the airlines still provide personal attention for children without handing gratuities to the flight staff? -- GRANDMOTHER JUDITH, LAWTON, OKLA.
DEAR JUDITH: Your friend was misinformed. I checked with three major airlines, and all three had similar policies regarding children traveling alone. None of them allows flight attendants to accept tips.
In order to fly alone, a child must be at least 5 years old. There is an additional fee for an unaccompanied child, but it is part of the cost of the ticket. However, fees vary, depending on the airline and the number of connecting flights.