Airline Forgets Young Traveler
United Airlines finds itself in a PR snafu after a ten-year-old California girl was stranded for hours in Chicago while flying cross-country as part of the airline's "unaccompanied minor" service. The girl was supposed to catch a connecting flight to take her to summer camp in Michigan, but the service never picked her up. She ended up waiting four hours for a flight, all while her parents frantically tried to contact her. The story is not surprising to Kate Hanni with Travelers Rights-Dot-Org. "We hear about these kinds of events all the time on many different air carriers," she tells KTRH.
These incidents represent a major failure on the part of the airlines, according to Hanni. "It's the airline's responsibility to make sure that child arrives (safely) at point B, and there are no hiccups," she says. After the girl's parents wrote a complaint letter to United, the airline apologized and refunded the miles used to purchase the ticket, along with the $99 unaccompanied minor fee. But Hanni wants outside action. "What I'd like to see is for the Department of Transportation to fine airlines when they don't do what they promise they'll do when an unaccompanied minor is flying." Hanni also recommends that parents pay the extra fee for unaccompanied minors, because that will give them legal recourse later if there are problems with the service.