Teen on run to Europe sparks international alert

A 14-year-old Melbourne girl managed to board an international flight alone in an audacious bid to run away to Europe last week.

The teen bought herself a Thai Airways ticket to Switzerland and was able to board the plane on her own just before 4pm on Friday without her parents' permission.

An international alert was raised when her mother reported her missing to Moonee Ponds police station after one of the girl's friends revealed she had planned to flee to Zurich.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the Department of Immigration confirmed the girl had left the country and the Australian Federal Police were called in.

But when it was realised an AFP agent would not be able to reach Bangkok Airport in time for the plane's stopover, the Australian Consulate was contacted and a Department of Foreign Affairs officer was sent to meet the plane.

The girl was intercepted and put on a return flight home, which landed about midday on Saturday, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

Thai Airways has a policy that children over 12 can fly alone with their parents' permission.

The teenager is believed to have provided false contact details for her parents and a person she was supposed to be staying with in Zurich, details that were not checked by the airline.

A DFAT spokeswoman said she could not comment.

A Thai Airways spokeswoman defended the airline, saying the girl had bought an adult fare through a travel agent and had an approval form from her parents.

"She's actually an adult, she bought an adult fare,'' she said.

The spokeswoman said if a person was aged over 12 and able to buy an adult fare, the airline would not ask any questions about whether they had their parents' permission to travel unless something appeared "irregular''.

But she said the girl had also carried with her ''young person approval forms'', which she had falsified, giving crew the impression her parents knew she was travelling.

She said the girl would have been asked for the forms at check-in and would have either been given the forms there or had earlier applied for them through the airline.

"We don't have any concerns from the point of view she's been able to travel,'' she said.

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