Incidents of international parental-child abductions have increased significantly over the past decade. The US government has recognized this problem but has yet to devise a mechanism by which potential abductors and 'at-risk' children can be identified and detained by authorities before boarding an international flight. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is often invoked by the United States in seeking recovery of abducted children but does not address the central issue of prevention. Moreover, proceedings to recover abducted children under the Hague Convention are protracted and often unsuccessful.
As a result, some parents seek to hold airlines civilly responsible for transporting a child out of the country without the consent of the non-travelling parent. This article examines the US government's efforts to prevent parental-child abduction generally and the decisions by the courts that have adjudicated civil claims brought by 'left-behind' parents against airlines.Air and Space Law