She will be meeting an x-exchange student that we had staying with us about 10 years ago. She is flying from Seattle to Philly with an hour and a half layover...not very long and then back on the plane to Zurich. What do you experienced travelers think of that schedule. She is taking US Airways all the way and will meet our friend in Zurich.
Have her be sure to let the flight attendants know that she is 17 amd traveling alone all the way to Zurich. It's been my experience that though they don't need to escort her and keep a very close eye on her they will probably be more than willing to just give her a little bit more attention or assistance as I'm sure they would desire if or when their children are doing a similar trip. Though I'm an adult I've explained situations and they let the ground crew know what I needed.
My daughters also travel alone sometimes, and started at her age. I think much depends on how much she has flown and her familiarity with airport procedures from her prior travels with you. I would look at (and print) a layout of the airport from their Website- she can probably find out the arrival gate when she checks in in Seattle. Plot that together...Sitting towards the front will also help her get off the plane more quickly with the tight connection. Lastly I would tell her not to panic if the flight from Seattle is delayed- the airline is responsible for her getting on another flight to Zurich if the flight is late and she misses the connection. At that point she can phone you when she knows the new information, and you can call your Zurich friends. I would emphasize that those sorts of things are part of travel, and you just deal with the inconvenience, sometimes, for all the great experiences that are waiting when she arrives! That, and a lot of magazines!!! Lucky her!
I'm sure that she will be fine. The advice above is great. My grandson started flying alone at 6. Just prepare her for what could happen. Like not making the flight. The airport map is a great idea. My daughters were meeting at the Atlanta airport to fly overseas and we nearly missed the plane. We were meeting at a resturant didn't know there were two by the same name! Of course taking an earlier flight would solve part of the potential problem. Is that possible? I never get bored sitting around an airport. So much to see. We have a layover in Paris when flying to Zurich and I can't wait to shop there!
Forgot to tell you: Make sure she calls a few days before she leaves to confirm her flight. We didn't and got to the airport and the flight they had changed us to had left 5 hrs earlier. Delta had dropped the Belgium airlines while we were traveling.
Live and learn. We call now!