United loses a 10 year old in ORD

Old Aug 13, 12, 2:56 pm
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United loses a 10 year old in ORD

http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_webl...idnt-care.html

Here is the headline: United was flying Phoebe as an unaccompanied minor on June 30th, from San Francisco to Chicago, with a transfer to Grand Rapids. No one showed-up in Chicago to help her transfer, so although her plane made it, she missed the connection. Most crucially, United employees consistently refused to take action to help assist or comfort Phoebe or to help her parents locate her despite their cries for help to numerous United employees.

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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Sprezzatura View Post
http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_webl...idnt-care.html

Here is the headline: United was flying Phoebe as an unaccompanied minor on June 30th, from San Francisco to Chicago, with a transfer to Grand Rapids. No one showed-up in Chicago to help her transfer, so although her plane made it, she missed the connection. Most crucially, United employees consistently refused to take action to help assist or comfort Phoebe or to help her parents locate her despite their cries for help to numerous United employees.

YIKES! I personally would never let my children fly as unaccompanied minor, but that is just me.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:06 pm
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I flew unaccompanied when I was 9 years old and also had to transfer. It went fine. But luckily I was on Cathay Pacific.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:14 pm
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These parents can afford to fly a child to camp halfway across the country but they're too cheap to spring for a disposal cell phone so she can contact them if there is a problem?
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:17 pm
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Visit the link and read the letter the parents sent to United.. I didn't bother reading the blog post because it was written by a friend..the letter itself has the info from the parents.

What a horrible ordeal! People pay for this service and there is absolutely no excuse for it to go awry like it did in this situation. United owes them big time.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by LTBoston View Post
These parents can afford to fly a child to camp halfway across the country but they're too cheap to spring for a disposal cell phone so she can contact them if there is a problem?
You pay United for the unaccompanied minor service, they're supposed to sort this out for you. And it's not like a phone is ever far away when you're in an airport; I'm shocked that the kid could spend hours wandering around without finding anyone to help her at all though.

I'm curious as to what the kid was actually doing for all these hours though. Can you really wander around ORD as an unaccompanied minor for *hours* without finding someone who'll at least send you to someone who can sort out the whole "where the hell is my unaccompanied minor escort" problem?
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:27 pm
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They didn't LOSE her, per se; they just caused a passenger to mis-connect as a result of their generic incompetence / indifference, and then also delayed her bags for a while. That's not news, that's another day at United that ends in "y". Only the age of the traveler is different. On that front, I'm just happy to see that the new United does not discriminate in the service it provides on the basis of age.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Jorgen View Post
I'm curious as to what the kid was actually doing for all these hours though. Can you really wander around ORD as an unaccompanied minor for *hours* without finding someone who'll at least send you to someone who can sort out the whole "where the hell is my unaccompanied minor escort" problem?
Yeah I didn't quite get that either...as I recall the FA's on board the flight should have known there was a UM aboard and not allowed them to leave the plane until their escort was there. The kid must have gotten off without anyone noticing. But you'd certainly think that as soon as they approached a UA gate agent the agent should have seen their wrist band and known who to contact. That all seems odd to me.. unless the kid approached other people who were not UA employees. Still the FA's should have told the kid not to leave the plane. I think there were multiple failures in the process.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:31 pm
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I am not surprised...it has been a while since I have had to deal with UAs but both times CO could not account for them on the other end.....the kids and those picking them up knew where they were but CO had no clue and they had no answer beyond "sorry"
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:41 pm
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Let's stick to the topic of what happened with this UM and UA and not on the general issue of unaccompanied minors.

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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:41 pm
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What confuses me the most from the bullet points is this:

When Anne and Perry tried to file a complaint, note the system is so bad that they wouldn't let them write it themselves and the United employee refused their request to have it read back to be fact-checked, plus there are other twists worth repeating:
Granted their email system isn't the greatest, but I don't think I've ever had an issue filing a complaint.

And then:

We asked if the bags being lost for three days and camp having to make 5 trips to the airport vs. one was something we would be compensated for
Why was the camp making trips? Unless something has drastically changed, isn't UA obligated to deliver baggage?

And this part is laughable (at least about B6 and WN):

But perhaps United senior executives ought to at least take a look at what happens at JetBlue, Virgin America, and Southwest. They make mistakes too, it happens, but when they do, I nearly always feel empathy for my situation and that the people are trying to make the situation right.
B6 is the sole reason why legislators decided to enact the DOT3 rule and WN ranks among the worst airlines to help in an irregular operation (read = this isn't towards their customer satisfaction score).

While it will never happen, I would love to hear the information from UAL's side. Always two sides to every story. Children tend to fear reprimand for their actions, so they find something they can blame it on. When I worked for the airlines, I would have an angry parent show up requesting to speak to a supervisor and after listening to the "how could you let my child miss a flight" and "I'm never putting my child on xxx airlines because you (pointing at me) made him/her miss the flight" I would meet the flight that had the child on it, talk to the F/A about the child and come to find out that they were so scared after their initial flight that they didn't want to fly on the next flight, or that the child didn't want to go on this trip because he/she thought it was stupid. As opposed to telling their parent(s), and in return getting reprimanded, it turns into "xxx airlines made me miss my flight!!!".

15+ years in the customer service industry, I have seen, heard, and smelled (bs) it all. If this is true, then shame on UAL for this. But, if there is another story to be heard and the real story comes back on the parent's as opposed to united, shame on the parents. I've seen it both ways. Take every story with a grain of salt until facts are presented, as opposed to a "friend's" one sided sob story.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by aviatorzz View Post

15+ years in the customer service industry, I have seen, heard, and smelled (bs) it all. If this is true, then shame on UAL for this. But, if there is another story to be heard and the real story comes back on the parent's as opposed to united, shame on the parents. I've seen it both ways. Take every story with a grain of salt until facts are presented, as opposed to a "friend's" one sided sob story.


I'd say this sums it up. If true, shame on UA, and they should pay dearly.


If not? Shame on the family and kid.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
They didn't LOSE her, per se; they just caused a passenger to mis-connect as a result of their generic incompetence / indifference, and then also delayed her bags for a while.
Yes they DID lose her. The person that was supposed to pick her up off the flight never showed. That the girl stuck around UA personnel was good for her, but they didn't keep her accompanied and that was the whole point...

If she is not in the company of a handler, she is lost. She was old enough to figure out how to find people who could get her back on track, luckily.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 4:28 pm
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For something like this, I would sue the airline in small claim court in my own town. Let them incur the expenses to send lawyers from headquarters to defend the indefensible before a jury. I would invoke gross negligence and would claim a reimbursement for the cost of the ticket, the cost of the minor accompanying service, and an amount for moral distress and loss of wages, up to the maximum allowed by the small claim court in my jurisdiction. This is fairly simple to do and requires no lawyer.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
Yes they DID lose her. The person that was supposed to pick her up off the flight never showed. That the girl stuck around UA personnel was good for her, but they didn't keep her accompanied and that was the whole point...

If she is not in the company of a handler, she is lost. She was old enough to figure out how to find people who could get her back on track, luckily.
I believe UA contracts this job out to a 3rd party. I expect they would push the blame on that 3rd party anyhow.

I thought how the process works is that the FA keeps the UA on the plane with thh paperwork and then gives the paperwork and child over to the 3rd party. The 3rd party takes the UA to the next flight and hands the UA over to a FA along with the paperwork. The question is, where did this process break down?
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