Aussie 12-Year-Old Boy Takes Parent’s Credit Card, Leaves Country

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Children aged 12 are not meant to fly overseas unaccompanied without parental permission, but that didn’t stop a boy from Sydney, Australia, who “borrowed” his parent’s credit card, persuaded his grandmother to give him his passport – and then flew to Bali via Perth, rented a motorbike and booked into a hotel, all on his own.

It happened after a family argument, viewers of Australia’s A Current Affair TV show learned. The boy left the country almost without being challenged.

A Current Affair said the boy had attempted a similar trip before but had been denied boarding by Garuda and Qantas when he couldn’t produce a document saying he had the permission of his parents.

After that attempt, his mother – who says her son doesn’t like hearing the word “no” --contacted the Australian Federal Police, who reportedly told her that her son’s passport had been flagged so he couldn’t do it again.

He did try again, however, and he succeeded. This time he tried Jetstar, using an automated check-in kiosk to avoid awkward questions. The boy, identified on the TV program only by a pseudonym, said he was questioned once by airline officials in Perth.

"They just asked for my student ID and passport to prove that I am over 12 and that I am in secondary school," he said. "It was great because I wanted to go on an adventure."

And it worked. He reached Bali, hired a motorbike and took off.

The boy checked into the All Seasons hotel in Bali. Eventually, his family learned from his school that he was absent. The boy’s mother – who said she was shocked and disgusted to find her son had managed to leave the country – flew to Bali to collect him and bring him back. She says it’s “way too easy” for a kid to skip the country. “There’s a problem.”

Jetstar is apparently moving to tighten its procedures.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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