Kids Fly Alone to Tenn., Parents Outraged

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Southwest Airlines is under fire Friday after three kids, ages 11, 13 and 15, booked an airline to Nashville, Tenn., without their parents' permission.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Brown, who used her babysitting money to pay for the ticket, said the escapade was her idea.

Although she originally intended to use the money to purchase a car, she changed her mind Tuesday and decided that she, her 11-year-old brother and 13-year-old neighbor should visit Tennessee's Dollywood amusement park instead.

Neglecting to notify their parents of their pending adventure, the children paid for a cab to the airport, bought tickets from Southwest on their own and passed through security without anyone asking for identification.

"We went through security -- they didn't say anything to us," Bridget said Thursday. "We went over there and picked up our stuff and got on the plane."

After flying from Jacksonville, Miss., to Nashville, the trio came to a rather scary realization: Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge - more than 200 miles from Nashville.

He said, 'For real, I'm in Nashville, Tennessee, and I'm ready to come home," Heather Nolan said of her son Bobby's phone call. "'We want to come home.'"

"It was scary, very scary," Bridget's father, James Brown, told ABC News.

The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement that "kids under 18 don't need to show an ID." Consequently, the children were let through without one.

Southwest officials explained that under their policy, passengers over the age of 12 can travel without a parent. They said they allowed the 11-year-old to travel because "in this case, (he) was accompanied by two older companions."

The children's parents are still in shock over the incident.

"I never would have dreamed my kids would have got on a plane without me or their mom," James Brown said. "But they did."

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at