sphealey
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Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 12:57 am

I searched the archive but could not find a thread on this question: when a child is traveling as an unaccompanied minor and is under the care of the airline, how are diversions to other cities handled (e.g. a weather diversion)? Is the child kept at the airport, taken to a hotel, etc? My question is primarily for flights within the USA, but for completeness how are international flights handled?

Thanks.

sPh
 
flypdx
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 1:00 am

IF a child can't be re-routed then they are put up in a hotel on most airlines..
 
flyAUA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 1:12 am

Quoting Sphealey (Thread starter):

At OS what we do is send the U.M. to the intended destination as soon as practicable (be it when the weather improves, or when an aircraft is ready, etc). The person who was designated to collect the U.M. will be informed immediately regarding the diversion and further info regarding onward flights will be given. Here the airline regulations stated that the child is not allowed to be alone at any point in time. So yes, if the child has to sleep at a hotel overnight, they will be accompanied by an airline staff member (not sure whether in separate rooms though). The staff member(s) accompanying the U.M. are only released when at the final destination they hand over them over and get the signature on that yellow piece of paper after checking photo identification.

P.S. Please don't turn this into a Neverland Ranch thread Big grin
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SHUPirate1
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 1:16 am

Quoting FlyAUA (Reply 2):
So yes, if the child has to sleep at a hotel overnight, they will be accompanied by an airline staff member

If the diversion is weather-related, is the child put in a homeless shelter overnight?  Silly After all, since it was an "Act of God", the airline is not responsible, right?
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flyAUA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 1:26 am

Quoting SHUPirate1 (Reply 3):
If the diversion is weather-related, is the child put in a homeless shelter overnight? After all, since it was an "Act of God", the airline is not responsible, right?

The airline IS resposible. At least here we were, and if you did anything else you'd get a kick in your butt as an employee. You are only not responsible anymore when the kid is picked up at the destination airport.

Regards
-Moe
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SHUPirate1
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 2:29 am

Quoting FlyAUA (Reply 4):
At least here we were, and if you did anything else you'd get a kick in your butt as an employee.

I'm sorry...it's obvious you missed the fact that I was making a light-hearted chuckle. What I meant was, the airline is not responsible for a hotel room. Obviously, they are required to make sure the child gets to his final destination, under their direct supervision.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 2:38 am

It didn´t happen while I was working in pax handling for LH in TXL, but I understood that if a fklight was diverted or cancelled, the child would spend the night accompanied by a FEMALE employee (F/A etc.). I assume if the UM is already a teenager, he or she would be sleeping in a hotel room of their own, small children would stay in the F/A´s room.

Jan
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midex461
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 3:50 am

It NEVER happened when I worked pax service for HP (Express). Our rule was that when there was the POSSIBLITY of a weather diversion, UMs did NOT travel. This could be (and probably still IS) a pain in the to explain to the parent/guardian dropping them off in PHX.
Of course MX diversions are another story.
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lamedianaranja
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:01 am

At KLM UM (until 12 yrs) and YP (until 15 yrs) are accompanied by a Service Agent to a hotel at the airport. First the parents are called to tell them about what's going on and they can speak to the child, then they are taken to a double hotelroom, with a detour by the McDonald's!
The agents love this job as they get to spend the night in a luxury hotel (usually AMS Airport Sheraton) and get their next working day off instead.
I wish that all skies were orange and blue!!
 
ltbewr
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:02 am

In the USA, and some other countries, there could be serious potential liability issues with any airline employee staying in a hotel room with a UM, mainly due to the fears of general assult/security and sexual molestation or assult. I know I wouldn't want any UM of mine (especially under 16) with any airline employee in a hotel room unless I was able to do a criminal record check for sexual crimes, and even then, it isn't foolproof.
Don't forget that an UM wold find it near impossible to get a hotel/motel room due to being a minor, no access to credit cards, etc., even with a airline voucher. The best one could hope for is that an airport has a supervised area for child/minor care for the airport's emplolyees or specially cleared 'family' employees that would supervise such UM's if have to go to a motel. (Iminage a kid being kept with the pilot in the 'Airplane' moves  biggrin  )
 
FlyingTexan
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:07 am

Very delicately. A major carrier’s policy on this - at least as of a few years ago:

If there is a diversion requiring a UMNR to overnight, the UMNR is put in a hotel room. Open telephone communication is established with the parents/guardians. It is their call weather a FA stays in that room – must be same gender. They also have the option of posting an airline employee or security guard at the door.
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wdleiser
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:29 am

I wish I could be a UM again and get stranded and have a very hot young female looking after me who was sexually frustrated and needed a quicky. I'd be sure to give her the best 52seconds of her life!  Wink
 
ahlfors
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:38 am

Many, many moons ago when I was travelling as a UM (age 11 or 12), I once had an incident where I had a severe misconnect. I was travelling AA LHR-JFK-SJU-ANU and the JFK-SJU flight had to turn back because of mechanical issues. They put me in the care of an airline employees for the few (daylight) hours it took to find a new Airbus. She actually left me alone for a while to go check on what's going on, and at the same time the announced a new gate for the flight. I waited a few minutes, and then headed to the new gate and boarded, and promptly fell asleep in my window seat until landing.
When we got to SJU at something like 1:30 am, I was waiting for the flight to continue to ANU (it was supposed to be a direct 1-stop same-aircraft flight, but because of our major delay they had sent another plane instead), when everyone got off the plane and the captain comes for his final round of checks and finds me. He takes me to customer service (cursing the flight attendants as we pass them). No one had any idea a UM was on board.
Customer service let me call home to ANU, and then put me in a hotel with a male airline employee (security I think).
The next morning I left my designated airline employee as he was still sleeping (I was hungry and didn't want to wake him up). I grabbed breakfast with the vouchers I had been given the night before, and then boarded my flight.
So basically, they do have a mechanism to watch after UMs in all situations. But then again, I was able to lose them twice and board an aircraft without anyone knowing a UM was onboard (no escort for me at ANU or anything).
 
FlyingTexan
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 4:55 am

Quoting Ahlfors (Reply 12):

Kind of a Catch Me If You Can thing.
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BAxMAN
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 7:39 am

My own experience as a UM was many years ago when I flew to BNA via JFK and ATL with VS and DL. Quite why the travel agent booked such an unnecessarily complicated itinerary, I don't know.

Anyways, VS delayed my flight to JFK meaning that I missed my connections to ATL and BNA. VS were delighted to wash their hands of me and left me in the care of DL. DL said that they couldn't put me in a hotel room alone as I was under 16 so, after much discussion between DL staff members, a lady employee named Winnifred took me to her place to stay the night. She showed me round some of New York by night and then at her own appartment she cooked me some dinner and watched TV. As a young and awkward child, I found this all a bit unsettling and peculiar, although looking back, Winnifred was obviously going above the call of duty. Winnifred woke me up early the next morning and on my way to BNA I happily went, albeit completely without UM assistance!
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flyAUA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 7:48 am

Quoting SHUPirate1 (Reply 5):
I'm sorry...it's obvious you missed the fact that I was making a light-hearted chuckle. What I meant was, the airline is not responsible for a hotel room. Obviously, they are required to make sure the child gets to his final destination, under their direct supervision.

Haha, ok sorry about that Big grin

And by the way, the airline (again I re-iterate, at least here) is responsible for the room too.
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flyAUA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 7:52 am

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 10):
It is their call weather a FA stays in that room – must be same gender

What if the FA fancies the same gender (which they often do)??? Big grin
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lincoln
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 8:53 am

Also keep in mind, at least as far as the major airlines I know of in the US are concerned, UMs may not be booked on, nor will they be accepted for the last flight of the day partially due to this concern.

It's not foolproof (as in the case of someone who gets rebooked due to MX or WX and then encounters further dificulties or has a multiple connection itin) but I imagine it helps quite a bit.

I've read stories about UMs who go to a crew member's appartment, who are booked in their own hotel room with a FA, agent, etc., next door and "connecting rooms" (i.e. a door between rooms)... I strongly suspect that $50 or $75 "UM handlig fee" is as high as it is because the airline has to go "above and beyond" to get a UM to the destination in one peice in the event of irregular operations... If all it covered were regular operations and you were SOL if something happened I would imagine $15 would be more resaonable)

Lincoln
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Brick
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 10:31 am

I was travelling as an UM back in 1986 or 1987 or so when my flight connecting through DFW was cancelled. I was 12 or 13 years old at the time. I was stuck in DFW for the night. One of the gate agents offered to my parents to take me to her apartment and put me up for the night. She fed me breakfast in the morning and drove me to the airport even though it was her day off. She didn't have to do that of course, but American Airlines didn't have a UM policy at the time to deal with a situation like that.

Can you image what would happen today if a gate agent were to do that?!?
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DLKAPA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 10:34 am

Quoting Sphealey (Thread starter):
Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

By pinning a $20 to their shirt and wishing them the best of luck.
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled

Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 6):

Teenagers usually would not be travelling as UMs (at least I don't).


..but I will stay in the room with the F/A. But only if she is hot!  Silly :-p
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OHLHD
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Tue May 31, 2005 2:24 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 9):
I know I wouldn't want any UM of mine (especially under 16) with any airline employee in a hotel room

A UM is up to 12 years. After that it is an "young pax". If the situation occurs that a employee has to stay in the hotel room, it MUST be a female.
 
Tod
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:14 am

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 21):
A UM is up to 12 years.

14 on NW
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:42 am

So, any NW employees like to answer this thread topic question, for real . . . without the smartass commentary . . .

My daughter frequently comes NW from/to ANC from/to CID. Only one stop - MSP.

If she got stuck at MSP my ex-wife would surely drive up to get her. . .

However, what REALLY happens when NW844 departs MSP-ANC and gets diverted to anywhere.
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SkyexRamper
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:47 am

Almost always will a flight attendent or CSR step forward and do all they can to help out with the child including dealing with them on overnights if need be. I have never heard of a U.M being left to fend for themselves.

When skyway was still running to RDU, we had a U.M that was traveling from green bay (were she was visiting her grandma, her grandma drove down to MKE to drop her off and was on her way home when the flight canceled) and returning home to RDU. Well the RDU flight had a mechanical and the flight was cancelled, bad news because that was the last RDU flight out of MKE and being summer time we had rerouted almost all the other pax on different carriers but we couldn't get her out and thought it would be better for her to return to GRB to be with her grandma, so instead of having her grandma drive all the way back to MKE, our gate sup got the girl round trip non-rev travel (he listed the girl as his daughter and worked it out with the GRB station so they were on the same page of understanding) to GRB and then back the next day to catch the first RDU flight out of MKE.
Thats what I call going above and beyond the line of duty.

[Edited 2005-05-31 19:03:30]
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northwestair
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:07 am

I was under theimpression that we have to hire a Security Guard to stand guard outside of the UM's Hotel Room if a diversion happens at a non Hub location. Now if they get diverted to a Hub then I was told that the UMs go to the UM room were either a CSA or a Manager has to set there all night and play babysitter while the kids eat , sleep and play witht e playstation 2. I've had a lot of UM's tell me that they love our UM rooms in MEM.

[Edited 2005-05-31 19:14:01]
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flyAUA
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:15 am

Quoting Northwestair (Reply 25):
Now if they get diverted to a Hub then I was told that the UMs go to the UM room were either an employee or a Manager has to set there all night and play babysitter while the kids eat , sleep and play witht e playstation 2. I've had a lot of UM's tell me that they love our UM rooms in MEM.

We have one of those in VIE and other airlines (apart from OS) also use it sometimes under supervision of OS staff. This is however only used during the day as far as I am concerned. Can't remember anybody sitting in there during the night.
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BCAL
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:25 am

For information about unaccompanied minors traveling on BA you might wish to refer to their website http://www.britishairways.com/travel/childinfo/public/en_gb

If there is a diversion, BA will look after the unaccompanied minor until he/she is delivered to the guardian at the destination airport. If there is a missed connection or a forced overnight stay at an intermediate airport, the unaccompanied minor will be looked after at the hotel/airport by a member of the airline staff at all times, even if the delay is beyond the airline's control.

Many years ago I was an unaccompanied minor traveling LHR/IST. In those days the flight was operated by BEA and the direct flight involved stops at FCO and ATH. There was also a non-stop service LHR/ATH that was scheduled to arrive at ATH at the same time the flight from FCO arrived, so passengers wishing to avoid stopping at FCO could fly direct to ATH and connect onwards to IST. The ATH flight was delayed on one journey and I arrived at ATH after the last plane had left for IST. BEA put me up at the best hotel in ATH at their expense with an airline employee accompanying me - separate rooms. The following morning I was collected from the hotel by the station manager who kept me entertained until I could be put on a flight to IST. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said watch planes and be at the airport. It was a brilliant day as I saw everything that went on behind the scenes at the airport. When it came to time to continue my journey, I did not want to leave! I joked that I would only go if I could travel first class and, surprisingly, my wish was granted. Of course, times have changed and I doubt if a similar personal service would be offered today!

I wonder what FR and easyJet would do but I suppose they do not allow unaccompanied children to travel.
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Birdwatching
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:54 am

Back when I lived in Ecuador, I flew to Europe once or twice a year on Lufthansa. I flew as a UM a couple of times. One time the 742C couldn't land at UIO due to visibility, so we went to GYE, stayed overnight and then flew up to UIO the next morning. (Great experience to be on a 40 min flight on a 747!)

That particular flight I was NOT an UM, but there were several UMs on that flight, including a friend from my class in UIO. So basically since the crew had to stay in that hotel anyway, all the female FAs took kids with them, making sure that there were always 2 kids together. We took my friend into our room. Basically it was all a huge party, since we were all from German School, and we all knew each other, so we sat down in the lobby by the buffet and watched TV all the evening.

BTW, since that 747 used to stop at CCS and BOG, the flight got emptier on each segment. There were always lots of friends from German School on that flight, which everybody took on the first / last day of summer vacation, where everybody would leave for Germany or come back.
So there were lots of empty seats, and all us kids sat together. So it was one big 747 Combi PARTY!!!
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FI642
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:53 am

In 1991, I had a UMNR come off of a flight. No one came to get the poor kid. Called the person who was to collect the child. They said they didn't ask for the kid to be sent. (!) Called the person who sent him. "Don't send him back, we don't want him." (!)

After 9 hours, we called Social Services. I felt really bad for the poor little guy.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:56 am

If there is one thing guaranteed to bring down the "wrath of God" on an airline it would be "losing" a child, or even having a child molested by an employee. Can you imagine the fury of the press and the public?

So I think UMs will continue to fly the friendly skies because airlines can't afford to slip up on this one.
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Logan22L
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:23 am

Quoting FI642 (Reply 29):
In 1991, I had a UMNR come off of a flight. No one came to get the poor kid. Called the person who was to collect the child. They said they didn't ask for the kid to be sent. (!) Called the person who sent him. "Don't send him back, we don't want him." (!)

WOW. I certainly hope that SS got the ball rolling for an arrest warrant for whomever bought that ticket for the kid. What a horrible thing to do. Either way, he was left without a home. You see some crazy things in this world.

Logan
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litz
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled

Wed Jun 01, 2005 6:34 am

Remember the ice storm in the NW last year (Portland, OR, was it?) ?

There were several articles about Alaska Airlines employees who had to entertain the UM's, who were stuck in the airport for the duration of the storm ...

Not only could they not get out by air (due to everything being grounded) but due to the ice, there was no way to get them to a hotel either.

There was a photo of several FAs playing street hockey with the kids, down the length of the concourse.

I imagine it was quite a challenge to keep 'em occupied since those kids had to be bouncing off the walls from cabin fever.

Remember, that from the time the airline accepts responsibility for the child, to the time it yields responsibility @ the other end, the airline is JUST as responsible as a parent for the care, feeding, and wellbeing of that child.

If there's a diversion, the child has to go SOMEWHERE for the duration, say an airline club backroom, employee break room, etc, always supervised. If the diversion is overnight, the child has to go somewhere to sleep (presumably a hotel) also supervised. This supervision, if it's a very young child, could be in the same room as a FA (acting as a substitute mom/pop) or in their own room, albeit guarded against sneakouts, if old enough to handle that.

The majority of the time, that $50 or $75 UM fee is unused, as the parent drops the kid off, the kid travels, and nothing happens.

But when a diversion or other problem occurs, the airline has to expend whatever manpower/$$$ is neccesary to take care of the minor, and that's when that fee really comes into play - it's like buying insurance ...

My question is this ... what happens to "YP" (Young Pax) travellers? Are there fees for older kids too?

If not, A 14-15 year old kid is certainly able to look after themselves but in case of an overnight diversion, they can't rent a car, book a hotel room, etc ... are they basically on their own and the parent has to try and arrange something via phone ?

If so, does the airline work something out for them similar to how the UMs are handled?

- litz
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:13 am

Quoting Litz (Reply 32):
The majority of the time, that $50 or $75 UM fee is unused, as the parent drops the kid off, the kid travels, and nothing happens.

Incorrect my friend. . . absolutely incorrect. I find a $75 fee for my daughter (one way) from CID-MSP-ANC to be an exceptional value for the services rendered . . . she is accompanied from chock to chock, she is safe, she is happy when she arrives . . . therefore, it IS used. I feel very comfortable with NW and their program. I've never had a problem with them, and in fact, had several NW crew (air and ground) tell me she is a jewel (must have more of her Mother's genes than mine) when she travels.

But that fee NEVER goes unusued, I assure you. In the event something untoward were to occur with one of her flights I'm absolutely positively sure NW will do the right thing with her. In that event, then it will be more of a bargain for the buck . . .
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NWrr
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:21 pm

The UM program is often a bone of contention for a lot of parents because of that fee. Once the children are old enough to not have to travel as a UM, most parents don't do it. As always, it is their choice, and I certainly understand the financial aspect of the issue, but when problems occur, it is those same people who start throwing massive fits.

Case in point: I had a young man (15) traveling ATL-MSP-GTF this past winter and he was on the last connecting flight into GTF that night. (Most of us by now know that this is a big no-no, even when declining UM service because of the potential problems.) Anyway, his mother booked him online and declined the UMNR service. MSP had a snowstorm and his ATL flight was delayed by two hours. When he finally arrived at MSP, his flight to GTF had already departed. His mother called in to res in a frantic state trying to figure out what to do with her poor child. There was nothing left to GTF until that same 9pm flight the following day, and once I advised the mother of this, she said the infamous words, "Well, what is NW going to do for my son? He's only 15! He doesn't have credit cards and I think his dad (or whomever) only gave him $20." Well, the short answer to that is 'nada.' No fee, no service. To make a long story short, I did get the kid onto a delayed 9E flight that night to HLN, but this is the kind of thing that some parents don't take into consideration.

Side note: NW (and most US airlines, I'm assuming) will allow parents to pay the applicable UM fee if things to go awry with children whose parents have declined the UM service and then the kids get stuck at the connection city.

On a different tangent, when I worked at the airport for AA, I once was sent to a hotel with two UMs because their MIA-LGA flight diverted to IAD due to WX. My manager insisted that I stay in the room with them (the kids were both under 10) and it was one of the most uncomfortable situations I have ever been in. While the hotel was kind and brought in a rollaway bed for me, I didn't use it. I sat in a chair until the kids woke up, took them back to the airport, handed them off to someone else and went home. The entire time the only thing I could think of was how the parents of these kids would feel knowing that a stranger, albeit one employed by the airline to take care of their children during their journey, was in the same room with them by themselves while they slept. I know what kind of person I am and would never dream of doing anything inappropriate, but how would they know that? Or even better, how would local management be 100% sure of that? Just because I have no record doesn't necessarily mean I couldn't have been on the way to starting one!
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Staggerwing
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:24 pm

When I was a Res Supervisor at Vanguard, our policy on UNAM's changed over time. At first, the rule was that UNAM's could only fly on flights that were direct and that they could not be on the last or only flight of the day. A couple of months before we went out of business we changed our policy to allow them to change planes in Kansas City, however they still could not be on the last or only flight of the day. The one thing that stayed constant was that it was limited to those 14 and under and required proof of age.

It was always interesting talking to upset customers about the UNAM policy. You had the two extremes, parents who wanted to send their 8 year old without the UNAM in order to save the money, and parents who wanted the pay the fee on their 17 year old daughter, a high school Senior.

My problems with the UNAM policy had nothing to do with minors. It had to do with adults with diminished capabilities. We had no policy for dealing with them until 2 incidents shortly before we went out of business. In the first instance, a women put her mother who suffered from Alzheimers on the last flight of the day from Chicago to Dallas with a change of plane in Kansas City. Needless to say the women decides to wander around MCI, instead of getting on her next plane. The first I know about it is when I get a phone call from our Dallas ticket counter at the Res Center just after midnight because the MCI ticket counter had already closed. Another daughter was waiting to pick her up. To make a long story short, the airport police found her wandering around the airport and she was checked into a motel with a security guard sitting in a chair outside her door until she was put on the first flight in the morning. We found out later from the Chicago police that the sisters had been flying her back and forth on various airlines for several years. My understanding is that the Chicago authorities told the daughter in Chicago that if it happened again, neglect charges would be filed.

The second time was in 2002 during the bad forest fires in Colorado. A women put her deaf 27 year old son on a plane in Buffalo to send him to a summer camp for the deaf in Colorado where he was counselor. We were notified that he was deaf, so our flight attendants and gate personnel communicated with him by written word. Well he gets into Kansas City and the flight to Denver is delayed. We tell him that the flight is delayed. He then misses the flight because he had to visit the restroom. By this time his mother is on the phone with the Res Center demanding information, she was afraid that he would miss his connecting bus to the camp. We explained that he did not board the plane when he was supposed to and that it left without him. We booked him on the next flight out, we gave him written instructions that he was to walk up to the large black man in a Vanguard uniform at the gate in Denver (6'4" 350 pounds) and he would be escorted to his bus. He gets off the plane and wanders away. This is where I came into the picture. The mother calls screaming and yelling about how we mishandled her son and that she was going to hold us responsible. I tell her that her son is an adult who is responsible for himself and that the escort that we were going to provide was a courtesy not a requirement. Over the 2 plus hours that I had her, the Denver Station Manager, the Kansas City Station Manger, and Denver Airport Police on the line, she was swearing that it was our fault and that her son didn't understand written English because he was deaf. The Denver Airport Police clued me in that he kept trying to walk away from the Security Office and that he had only $20.00, no credit cards, and a State ID instead of a DL in his wallet. They made the decision that he is not safe to be on his own and they take him into custody until the next morning when he can be placed on the next bus going to this camp. I tell her that her son has been found and will be spending the night with the Denver Airport Police. She started making noise about suing us for everything. Finally, I said to her," Ma'am, I live a stones throw from the Kansas State School for the Deaf in Olathe, Kansas. Over half of my neighbors are deaf. And I communicate very well with them via the written word while I try to learn to sign. Is there something else that you are not telling me about your son?" She denies that she is leaving anything out. About this time, the Buffalo station manager calls because she had been contacted by the local press about the situation. So, of course the PR department gets involved. I found out the week before we went out of business that the young man had lost his sight and was brain damaged due to birth complications. His mother was his legal guardian.

The policy that we put in place was to treat them like UNAM's if we found out about it at the time of the flight, however if the customer told us beforehand during booking, we would not book it, Or on a later call, we would cancel the ticket and issue a refund.

What are the various policies out there dealing with this issue now?
 
afay1
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 12:36 am

How does this policy work for UNAM on international sectors if there is a diversion? For instance if one is flying LHR-NRT and has to make an overnight stop in Moscow? I can only imagine the fun that would be...
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 2:02 am

Staggerwing. Thx for the very informational post. As I always tell people, customer service is hard. Customers expect perfection even when they are the ones who screw up.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 2:26 am

I had my 14 year old daughter come over to Berlin to visit her grandmother from SFO by LH last november. The main reason was that in any case she had to change planes in either FRA or MUC, since there is no direct connection between SFO and TXL or SXF. I booked her as UM (only 50 Euro extra per leg), because I know from experience that FRA is quite a maze and I´ve only passed through MUC once, so I can´t say much about this airport.

I chose LH, because from working for them in the past, I knew their UM policies and their standards.

She had no problem flying as an UM. Back during my time in Pax handling, I often experienced that teenage UMs, especially girls, found it embarrasing to wear the brightly cloured UM document pouch around their necks, so they were told to carry it e.g. in their hand bag.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
prosa
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 2:31 am

Things might have changed, but I heard that WN has or had a very rigid policy with respect to UM's and delays - if there is an overnight delay due to a MX or WX diversion or something else, UM's are turned over to local child protection authorities rather then put up in hotels. Fortunately this is unlikely to happen often as WN does not accept UM's on connecting flights.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
BCAL
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:21 am

It was interesting to read FR's policy on unaccompanied minors
http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/faqs.php?sect=chd&quest=uam

I can just imagine their customer service agent's reply: "What part of 'we do not carry unaccompanied minors' do you not understand?"

Diversions? They would probably leave a 14-16 year old to fend for themselves.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
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litz
Posts: 1886
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RE: Unaccompanied Minor - How Is Diversion Handled?

Sat Jun 04, 2005 2:29 am

Interestingly enough, cnn.com has an article on UM's today ...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TRAVEL/ADVIS...unaccompanied.minors.ap/index.html

- litz