A few years ago, I was on my way to my dad’s house in Texas during the Christmas holidays. I was very scared - it was the first time I had ever been on a plane by myself. My mom told me, “Listen to the flight attendant and be respectful.”
I sat down by a window, and a lady sat down next to me. She asked me how old I was and where I lived, and she asked me if I had any pets. I answered her questions and she answered mine. I asked her where she lived and if she had any pets. Talking with her made me feel better and not as scared.
In Denver, I changed planes. Another woman sat next to me on that plane. She talked to me a little bit and then went to sleep. But by that time, I wasn’t as afraid. I was used to the planes by then.
I make this trip to Texas twice a year now, at Christmas and in the summertime. I’m not frightened at all anymore. I get on the plane, change planes in Denver or Salt Lake City and then fly on to Texas. I read a book or draw pictures of animals.
Sometimes, I’ll ask the person next to me if he or she wants a piece of gum. Then we’ll start talking. Most of the adults are nice, but some don’t want to talk. The flight attendants are really nice. They always ask me if I’m OK, and if no one is sitting next to me, they sit down and we talk.
I feel like sort of an expert now, and so I’d like to give some advice to children traveling alone for the first time. Be nice to other people on the plane. Then they will be nice to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for food or something to drink. On my first flight, they gave me a little bag of pretzels. I wanted another one, but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to ask. But they came around and gave me another. Take a backpack with you on the plane and fill it with books, something to draw with, candy and a stuffed animal. If you ever need help, don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants.
I’d like to tell parents to warn their children that not all people on the plane will be nice and will want to listen. And to adults who travel, I say: Please listen to the kids sitting next to you. Give them advice. Make conversation with them. It is a nice thing to do because it helps children feel more confident that they will have fun on the plane. Sometimes their confidence is not there.
When I am grown up, I am going to try to be helpful to children traveling alone. And I always will be thankful to that woman who brightened my very first plane ride alone.
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