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Iberia Strands Three Kids In A Strange Country, Says It’s Policy

When the consumer site DansDeals called the airline out on its baffling decision to leave three children on their own in a strange country, the airline insisted it was following policy.

Iberia Airlines seems to openly admit to leaving an eleven-year-old, a fifteen-year-old and seventeen-year-behind at Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) after the first leg of the children’s journey from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). Airline officials, however, appear not to believe that the situation was handled improperly.

After the online consumer news and discount site DansDeals first reported the plight of the Addi siblings who were returning home after visiting with family in Florida, the airline took a surprising hardline on its decision to involuntarily bump the children in Spain. The airline gave the Addi children a hotel voucher, but reportedly denied the young travelers the compensation they were entitled to because they were “all under 18.”

While the family was safely reunited the next day after a long sleepless night for Leorah Addi, her seventeen-year-old daughter and two smaller children, unanswered questions about the trying ordeal remained. Daniel Eleef, founder of the popular online consumer website , attempted to get an answer as to why the Addi children were denied boarding and left to their own devices in a foreign country. The letter he received back from the airline offered more questions than answers.

By way of response, Iberia spokesperson Consuelo Arias was careful to distance the airline from responsibility for the children’s well-being. She wrote that since the children were permitted to travel unaccompanied without special assistance (and the accompanying fees), the airline did not have an employee on hand to supervise the minors during their unexpected overnight layover. Arias noted that the traveling school-age children were bumped from the overbooked flight in part because the Iberia flight which brought them from MIA to MAD was operated by Iberia, but booked through American Airlines. She explained that because of this the family was the last to check in for the MAD to TLV flight and therefore the first to be involuntarily bumped from the flight.

This is an explanation Daniel Eleef isn’t buying.

“United was compelled to adopt many customer friendly policy changes,” Eleef wrote, citing the backlash from the now infamous case of Dr. David Dao who was dragged from an overbooked flight earlier this year. “Clearly those have yet to make their way across the pond – with such a deficit in common sense, perhaps it is time for there to be laws against bumping minors flying alone off of a plane, but all I can say here is: Shame on Iberia!”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
jrm68 September 10, 2017

This is a nonstory, bumps happen all the time and someone is going to be inconvenienced. Since they bought adult tickets and didn't pay the UM fee, the airlines only duty of to get the plane from point a-b. I guess people assume it would be better to unload other passengers since these are kids, but nope everyone is equal and the decision was based on check in time. It is not the airlines job to babysit the children. If parents want a chaperon, they should pay for it, the fault lies with the parents for being cheap.

strickerj September 8, 2017

While I was certainly able to navigate an airport when I was 15, doesn't anyone else find it shady that the airline chose to IDB minors and then claim they weren't owed the standard compensation because they're minors? That makes it sound as though these passengers were targeted because it would be cheaper to IDB them than anyone else.

dvs7310 September 8, 2017

How could they possibly be the last to check in for MAD-TLV if they just flew from MIA? When they check in at MIA, they are checked in for both segments. People checking in in Europe would certainly be later because of the time difference.

343 September 8, 2017

17 year-old kid? 15 year-old kid? What a sensationalist headline! It's just another IDB... If parents want to not let them alone they can travel with them or buy UM service.

justhere September 8, 2017

Someone needs to tell Daniel that there is already a way to prevent minors flying alone from being bumped. Pay the UM fee. That's one of the best reasons to pay it. If the family chose not to pay the fee because the 15 and 17 y.o. are considered responsible enough to fly with the 11 y.o., then the parents are assuming the risk of something happening at the connecting point. What if their MIA-MAD had just been delayed and it had nothing to do with IDB? They were presumably fine taking that risk to save money.