Ayaana traveled last week from Bangalore to Los Angeles. This is the first time that she has traveled alone and needless to say, Mona and I were in a state of heightened anxiety for weeks. British Airways has a special escort service for unaccompanied minors and we signed up for that. So we knew that she was going to be taken care of throughout the journey. But we were still having nightmarish visions about lost passports, missed flights etc.
I went to the airport to drop her off on her day of departure. Check-in was smooth. A BA agent was assigned to escort her through immigrations and security all the way to the plane. Her flight was scheduled to depart at 6:30am and I was scheduled to travel to Chennai on a 7:00am flight. I was promptly chided by the BA agent for scheduling my flight so close to the departure time of Ayaana's flight. As per the rules, the person coming to drop a minor off MUST be available in the airport until her flight takes off. I begged the agent to call me as soon as Ayaana has boarded the plane.
I started to worry as 6:15am rolled by and there was no call. By 6:30am my flight had started boarding. I was in the coach headed to my plane - no call. I could see the British Airways flight moving on the runway - no call! Did Ayaana make it on the plane? My heart is pounding and I am on the phone with Mona every few minutes in case they called her. I was in my seat in the plane when the call finally came. Ayaana's plane had taken off and she was fine. What a relief!
After another 26 hours of high anxiety, she called from Los Angeles - safe and sound. Phew! Can't wait to go through this cycle again when she returns in July.