bgm
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United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:22 pm

https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.co ... ng-country

Last night Brenda Berg reported on Twitter that her son had flown as an unaccompanied minor on United Airlines from Raleigh Durham to Newark, intending to connect on to Stockholm on SAS. However United put him on a Eurowings flight to Germany instead.

    She says United accepted the boy for international travel but turned him over to the wrong airline
    And Eurowings boarded him onto the aircraft, prepared to fly him to the wrong country, even without a boarding pass for that flight.


Some thoughts:

1) I thought UA's UM policy was for direct flights only?
2) How on earth did Eurowings board him if he wasn't a passenger?
3) Hate reading the trashy Twitter-style conversation, but it seems UA's response was less than stellar.
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devron
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:06 pm

bgm wrote:
1) I thought UA's UM policy was for direct flights only?


The article states

United charges $150 each way for unaccompanied minors and their policy is to offer the service only on non-stop flights, and not to offer it connecting to or from partner airlines. Apparently, then, what the boy’s mother reports happened began against policy (accepting her son) in the first place. United’s policy suggests they know something like this might happen.
 
amcnd
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:17 pm

I’ve noticed Delta puts wrist bands that scan on children’s wrists... wonder if lack ot technology played a part...
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:22 pm

devron wrote:
bgm wrote:
1) I thought UA's UM policy was for direct flights only?


The article states

United charges $150 each way for unaccompanied minors and their policy is to offer the service only on non-stop flights, and not to offer it connecting to or from partner airlines. Apparently, then, what the boy’s mother reports happened began against policy (accepting her son) in the first place. United’s policy suggests they know something like this might happen.


The story doesn’t make sense. They wouldn’t even take the unaccompanied minor booking online. Definitely more to the story.
 
mwhcvt
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:23 pm

It says prepared to fly him, I wonder does this mean they didn’t actually fly him and the error was established before departure?
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
sw733
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:29 pm

mwhcvt wrote:
It says prepared to fly him, I wonder does this mean they didn’t actually fly him and the error was established before departure?


I was reading the Twitter feed and it the mom is saying her kid was on the plane taxiing out when he/she (I forget) let a flight attendant know, and the plane taxied back. So they were never actually in the air, thus never flying. That's how I read it, at least.
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:31 pm

Sounds like a check-in agent in RDU made a bad decision to accept him as a UM on the spot and that SAS needs to figure out how their UM policy works on a United code share.

https://twitter.com/brendaberg/status/1 ... 2205694976

https://twitter.com/brendaberg/status/1 ... 9871060993
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:32 pm

Not sure I believe the parents account is exactly correct. Also think UA dropped the ball (to some extent) if they accepted the kid as a UM.

The ticket was bought through SAS. I wonder if the whole itin was on one ticket, or separate ones.

I used to travel (domestically) often by myself at 14. How in the ____ is it possible to not realize you're not only boarding a flight to the wrong destination, but it's the wrong airline (speaking a different language)...

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.
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chepos
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United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:36 pm

No, aircraft never took off, plane had to do a gate return and he was rebooked on an 2330 flight on SAS. All that being said, pax should never have been boarded in EWR on the wrong airline at that. Service failure by the ground crew at the ATO, but nowadays the UMNR room/duties are outsourced to a ground handler. These things can happen more frequently when these task get outsourced to the lowest bidder.



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Last edited by chepos on Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jghealey
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:37 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.

Yep, in Europe on some airlines you can fly alone (ie without unaccompanied minor service) from the age of 12. Don't know about elsewhere.
 
TheOldDude
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:54 pm

I just went to the SAS web site and looked at how to book a ticket for a UM. I couldn't. Because the "child" ticket is only available up to age 11, the 14 year old likely had an adult ticket. However SAS does offer a UM service which is voluntary for ages 12-15. Importantly, for that service the purchaser has to telephone SAS customer service. With those facts several questions arise: (1) Was SAS customer service contacted? (2) If so, did SAS tell United about the UM? (3) Was the United agent advised about the UM by the parent, and if so, was the UM service only gate to gate RDU-EWR?
 
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lightsaber
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm

If UA is beaten up on this, it might be like carrying dogs, UA just stopped. In today's legal environment, sometimes it just isn't worth offering the service.

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ericm2031
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:08 pm

amcnd wrote:
I’ve noticed Delta puts wrist bands that scan on children’s wrists... wonder if lack ot technology played a part...


UA already is planning on adding scannable wristbands in the coming weeks. The training has already been completed by staff.
 
United1
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:19 pm

lightsaber wrote:
If UA is beaten up on this, it might be like carrying dogs, UA just stopped. In today's legal environment, sometimes it just isn't worth offering the service.

Lightsaber


Indeed but something isn’t adding up.

SAS shouldn’t have been able to book a person of that age onto a UA codeshare flight.
UA shouldn’t have accepted the passenger for travel at RDU.
The handling company at EWR just happened to escort the passenger to the wrong airline.
Eurowings shouldn’t have allowed the passenger to board the flight at EWR with a SAS ticket.

The odds of that many issues happening to a single passenger on one PNR are astronomically small...

Something is fishy and it isn’t Icelandairs flight to KEF.
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hOMSaR
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:25 pm

ericm2031 wrote:
amcnd wrote:
I’ve noticed Delta puts wrist bands that scan on children’s wrists... wonder if lack ot technology played a part...


UA already is planning on adding scannable wristbands in the coming weeks. The training has already been completed by staff.


Aren't boarding passes scannable? Don't gate agents physically verify a passenger's passport compared to what's on their screen when boarding an international flight? Shouldn't the existing technology have already thrown up all sorts of alarms when a passenger attempted board with an invalid boarding pass?

Or is it a case where everyone assumed someone else was responsible for making sure the UM was boarding the correct flight?

Seems like a lot of swiss cheese holes lined up on this one. I don't know what a wristband would do that everything else already in place shouldn't already be doing in a case like this.
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RDUDDJI
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:26 pm

jghealey wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.

Yep, in Europe on some airlines you can fly alone (ie without unaccompanied minor service) from the age of 12. Don't know about elsewhere.


You can within the US as well. Traveling within the EU (which generally has the same laws governing things like this between EU countries, esp in the Schengen zone) would be similar to traveling within the US. I'm talking about flying from the US to the EU, or vice-versa. Seems this could be risky with runaways, trafficking, custody disputes, etc. I would imagine at the very least they'd need a letter or something for immigration.
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sw733
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:29 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
Not sure I believe the parents account is exactly correct. Also think UA dropped the ball (to some extent) if they accepted the kid as a UM.

The ticket was bought through SAS. I wonder if the whole itin was on one ticket, or separate ones.

I used to travel (domestically) often by myself at 14. How in the ____ is it possible to not realize you're not only boarding a flight to the wrong destination, but it's the wrong airline (speaking a different language)...

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.


I think it's very possible. It's hard for us, as AvGeeks, to understand how someone couldn't tell the difference between airlines...but you hear people (even those who think they're experts) misspeaking about air travel constantly. My favorite was the guy on my flight last week who was arguing with me that Air Force One was a 737...he would not believe me (an aerospace engineer, who has done some very low-level design work on AF1) that it's a 747. Almost became combative.

As far as languages go, I guarantee the average American couldn't tell the difference between German and Swedish.
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:30 pm

TheOldDude wrote:
(3) Was the United agent advised about the UM by the parent, and if so, was the UM service only gate to gate RDU-EWR?


This. Hard to judge without knowing what went down at checkin.
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vfw614
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:46 pm

As per the reports, United forced the parents to purchase UM status at check-in at RDU. The ticket being an SAS ticket (which has a different UM policy than UA) and the kid being a somewhat experienced 14 year old traveller, the parents never planned to have him travelling with an official UM status. That was something UA brought up, resulting in the parents forced to fork out 150 USD at check-in. So by all accounts, this insistence by UA resulted in the chaos. Had UA let the kid travel on his own, he would probably connected with ease to the correct flight.
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:47 pm

About 15 years ago I flew to Copenhagen to assist a grandchild flying home from Greenland via CPH. I made week long vacation out of it and provided grandkid two of the days. I was surprised that airport would not allow me to see her to the gate where she would return to the US. I thought that a poor procedure, it should have been a gate attendant and relative ensuring she got on the right plane. It all went well of course.
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SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:49 pm

vfw614 wrote:
As per the reports, United forced the parents to purchase UM status at check-in at RDU. The ticket being an SAS ticket (which has a different UM policy than UA) and the kid being a somewhat experienced 14 year old traveller, the parents never planned to have him travelling with an official UM status. That was something UA brought up, resulting in the parents forced to fork out 150 USD at check-in. So by all accounts, this insistence by UA resulted in the chaos. Had UA let the kid travel on his own, he would probably connected with ease to the correct flight.


You are wrong. United should not have accepted him per their policy. You can disagree with the policy, but they should be following it.

I suspect the parents likely pushed hard to get him on the RDU-EWR flight which is when this agent came up with the poor plan to make them pay for UM service.
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:16 pm

ericm2031 wrote:
amcnd wrote:
I’ve noticed Delta puts wrist bands that scan on children’s wrists... wonder if lack ot technology played a part...


UA already is planning on adding scannable wristbands in the coming weeks. The training has already been completed by staff.


A day late and a dollar short for UA
 
vfw614
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:17 pm

No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:59 pm

jghealey wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.

Yep, in Europe on some airlines you can fly alone (ie without unaccompanied minor service) from the age of 12. Don't know about elsewhere.


I flew UM at the age of 7. US, Europe, SE Asia. By 13 was traveling solo without any supervision.

So nothing too crazy here, IMO.
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:01 pm

1) I thought UA's UM policy was for direct flights only?


According to their website they dont allow UMs on direct flights.
 
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jetblastdubai
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:27 pm

There's nothing wrong with UA's policy as it has worked thousands of times without any issues. Like any rule or policy, when individuals make exceptions or work around/disregard the rule things tend to go wrong. Making a new rule to enforce the existing rule is how this will probably end up and it's too bad the mistakes of a few will probably make things more complicated for everyone else.
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usflyer msp
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:32 pm

jetblastdubai wrote:
There's nothing wrong with UA's policy as it has worked thousands of times without any issues. Like any rule or policy, when individuals make exceptions or work around/disregard the rule things tend to go wrong. Making a new rule to enforce the existing rule is how this will probably end up and it's too bad the mistakes of a few will probably make things more complicated for everyone else.


Yes. This why carriers are constantly updating software to prevent staff from making exceptions to policy. There is usually a reason for the policy and in today's social media world no good deed goes unpunished...
 
retaliashun
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:19 pm

TheOldDude wrote:
I just went to the SAS web site and looked at how to book a ticket for a UM. I couldn't. Because the "child" ticket is only available up to age 11, the 14 year old likely had an adult ticket. However SAS does offer a UM service which is voluntary for ages 12-15. Importantly, for that service the purchaser has to telephone SAS customer service. With those facts several questions arise: (1) Was SAS customer service contacted? (2) If so, did SAS tell United about the UM? (3) Was the United agent advised about the UM by the parent, and if so, was the UM service only gate to gate RDU-EWR?


SAS requires children under age 12 flying alone to use their UM service. The child ticket is different from the UM service. UM service is voluntary on SAS between ages 12 - 17. Their UM page also says at the bottom, flying on partner airlines may incur additional fees.
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:54 pm

I'm just surprised that the kid didn't ask the UA agents "Where the hell are you sending me?" My youngest certainly would. And yes, he traveled at this age alone to Europe. On connecting flights.
Or maybe the kid did ask and nobody would listen to him/her?
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:41 pm

LH will let unaccompanied minors fly international, including TATL
 
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:56 pm

vfw614 wrote:
No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.


I am not usually a 'defend the airline no matter what' person, but in this case I agree that United should have refused to carry the passenger. The outsourced agent in RDU should have followed UA's policy, and there will no doubt be an investigation into that vendor.

In this case I think the parents need to accept some responsibility. Each airlines UMNR policy is different, and many have different age thresholds. If your child is flying overseas by themselves I would expect that any parent would have made an effort to check that everything would be fine even if you don't think they require UMNR assistance. A simple phone call would have most likely picked this up.
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ericm2031
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:04 pm

I’ve seen it happen may times where partner airlines have different rules, and they get to the US fine being unaccompanied but on the way back, the rules are different for that airline. Can’t really ban the child from going back home, so I probably wouldn’t have charged the UM fee but still would have required the service...which still would have resulted in this same problem.
 
vfw614
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:16 pm

I am not usually a 'defend the airline no matter what' person, but in this case I agree that United should have refused to carry the passenger. The outsourced agent in RDU should have followed UA's policy, and there will no doubt be an investigation into that vendor.


Why? The passenger had a perfectly valid ticket that allowed him to travel unaccompanied on a connecting flight as nothing in SAS' T&C states otherwise. Why should the passenger be the one to suffer if UA does not refrain from selling feeder flights (=making money) to an airline that has an UM policy United does not want to honour? United could simply refuse allowing SAS (or any other airline with a different UM policy) to build tickets with UA segments without a proper age check. If they do not, UA certainly is under an obligation to honour the contract (as they did) under these circumstances. They just should make sure not to screw up fulfilling it.
 
jporterfi
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:32 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
Not sure I believe the parents account is exactly correct. Also think UA dropped the ball (to some extent) if they accepted the kid as a UM.

The ticket was bought through SAS. I wonder if the whole itin was on one ticket, or separate ones.

I used to travel (domestically) often by myself at 14. How in the ____ is it possible to not realize you're not only boarding a flight to the wrong destination, but it's the wrong airline (speaking a different language)...

Side thought: are kids allowed to fly alone internationally at 14? In the age of human trafficking awareness, I would think that would be at best, frowned upon.


When I was 15, I travelled alone (not as a UM) from LHR to ATL on DL. Looking at DL's policy, I apparently just missed the cutoff for required UM service (5-14 on DL). On DL, as long as the UM has a passport, there are no restrictions for traveling internationally.
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RDUDDJI
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:14 pm

Story with more details from a local source: https://www.wral.com/united-puts-raleig ... /18485627/

He was going to visit his grandparents in Sweden. And yes, he could tell the difference between German and Swedish.

Turns out our kids know this kid. When we told them about the story one of them replied: "That doesn't surprise me at all."
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vfw614
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:37 pm

He would probably have been much faster in ARN if he had stayed onboard the Eurowings flight and connected through DUS. As things turned out, he had to wait a couple of hours at EWR for an SAS flight to CPH and connect anyway.

A missing piece of information is whether the kid had a boarding pass issued for the EW flight (and if so, how come?). I have difficulty understanding how, if the kid had an SK boarding pass, he could end up in his EW seat without red flags going up at various points (e.g. with the agent walking the kid to his seat on the plane and looking at the seat number, let alone the flight attendants checking the boarding passes at the aircraft door or gate agents at the the gate. If he held an SK boarding pass, it would have been a surprising coincidence to find the seat assigned to him on the SK flight available on the EW flight as well (unless that flight was half empty).
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:11 am

vfw614 wrote:
No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.


They aren’t a subcontractor running a charter flight with a unique set of processes. They have one policy on all flights. How can they make a one time exception and be operationally sound on a process they say they don’t support.
 
Jerseyguy
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:35 am

My 14 year old niece had to fly Southwest when she came up for a visit last month because United required her to be an UM while Southwest did not (UA and WN being the only two airlines that travel nonstop from AUS to EWR). I prefer Southwest but it would have been nice to have had the option especially since the only WN nonstop on that day was the flight arriving in after midnight.
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Aesma
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:53 am

How does the border crossing actually work, doesn't the minor need some kind of proof his parents agree with him traveling ?
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vfw614
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:53 am

SFOtoORD wrote:
vfw614 wrote:
No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.


They aren’t a subcontractor running a charter flight with a unique set of processes. They have one policy on all flights. How can they make a one time exception and be operationally sound on a process they say they don’t support.


I'd say if they allow another airline to sell tickets on UA flights under a different policy, that sort of waives their policy. A policy is a policy, just that. It is nothing that has been agreed between the customer in question and United. Whereas a binding contractual obligation is a binding contractual obligation and the binding contractual obligation was for SAS to transport the kid from RDU to ARN unaccompanied. If UA had invoked their policy. SAS would have been defaulting on its contractual obligations and as UA allowed SAS to sell a UA segment under its ticket stock, it would be a matter between UA and SK who in the end would be liable for damages. Nothing the passenger should be bothered with, it is mess airlines have created. And UA quite correctly did not invoke their policy in oder to allow its partner airline to fulfil contractual obligations.

Quite honestly, I don't see where the operational challenge was for UA. They had the kid in a holding area at EWR just as if he had been booked on a nonstop EWR-ARN flight and delivered to that holding area by a parent or a check-in agent..
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 2091
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:15 pm

jporterfi wrote:

When I was 15, I travelled alone (not as a UM) from LHR to ATL on DL. Looking at DL's policy, I apparently just missed the cutoff for required UM service (5-14 on DL). On DL, as long as the UM has a passport, there are no restrictions for traveling internationally.


I wasn't referring to the airline part of it. All airlines have their own UM rules. I was referring to immigration/customs rules. Por ejemplo: My wife has to write a letter for her kids to leave the country with their father. They travel to see his parents quite often in Canada. They rarely get asked for it, but could be denied entry if they don't have it (according to their divorce lawyer). I suppose immigration officers are free to do what they want, but if I were an agent I would have lots of questions for a 14yo child or children traveling alone.
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SFOtoORD
Posts: 1092
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:16 pm

vfw614 wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
vfw614 wrote:
No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.


They aren’t a subcontractor running a charter flight with a unique set of processes. They have one policy on all flights. How can they make a one time exception and be operationally sound on a process they say they don’t support.


I'd say if they allow another airline to sell tickets on UA flights under a different policy, that sort of waives their policy. A policy is a policy, just that. It is nothing that has been agreed between the customer in question and United. Whereas a binding contractual obligation is a binding contractual obligation and the binding contractual obligation was for SAS to transport the kid from RDU to ARN unaccompanied. If UA had invoked their policy. SAS would have been defaulting on its contractual obligations and as UA allowed SAS to sell a UA segment under its ticket stock, it would be a matter between UA and SK who in the end would be liable for damages. Nothing the passenger should be bothered with, it is mess airlines have created. And UA quite correctly did not invoke their policy in oder to allow its partner airline to fulfil contractual obligations.

Quite honestly, I don't see where the operational challenge was for UA. They had the kid in a holding area at EWR just as if he had been booked on a nonstop EWR-ARN flight and delivered to that holding area by a parent or a check-in agent..


So then they should also take on SAS’s checked bag, carry on bag, boarding time and any other SAs Policy? An airline can only run their flights with one set of policies or you’re not going to be able to consistently run thousands of flights per day. It is SAS’s job to know what they’re selling to their customers.
 
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WildcatYXU
Posts: 3086
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:27 pm

Aesma wrote:
How does the border crossing actually work, doesn't the minor need some kind of proof his parents agree with him traveling ?


I guess it depends on the country. Our kids were never asked to provide any proof when landing in the EU. Our youngest was once asked if we agree with him traveling when returning to Canada. He answered yes and and that was sufficient.
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usflyer msp
Posts: 3310
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:34 pm

vfw614 wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
vfw614 wrote:
No, absolutely not. Why should it be the passenger's problem if airlines code-share, enter into alliances etc. and create chaos by having different policies for a plethora of things despite creating the impression of selling a seemless transport product? If the passenger purchases an SK ticket that SK fulfils by making use of a "sub-contractor" like UA, why should it be the passenger's problem if contractor and sub-contractor have not sorted things out properly before selling tickets involving boh airlines to the public? Apparently UA took a more sensible approach than you (maybe also based on legal considerations as, see above, contractual chaos between two airlines is none of a passenger's business) and accepted the passenger in order to fulfil legal obligations its partner SK had entered into.


They aren’t a subcontractor running a charter flight with a unique set of processes. They have one policy on all flights. How can they make a one time exception and be operationally sound on a process they say they don’t support.


I'd say if they allow another airline to sell tickets on UA flights under a different policy, that sort of waives their policy. A policy is a policy, just that. It is nothing that has been agreed between the customer in question and United. Whereas a binding contractual obligation is a binding contractual obligation and the binding contractual obligation was for SAS to transport the kid from RDU to ARN unaccompanied. If UA had invoked their policy. SAS would have been defaulting on its contractual obligations and as UA allowed SAS to sell a UA segment under its ticket stock, it would be a matter between UA and SK who in the end would be liable for damages. Nothing the passenger should be bothered with, it is mess airlines have created. And UA quite correctly did not invoke their policy in oder to allow its partner airline to fulfil contractual obligations.

Quite honestly, I don't see where the operational challenge was for UA. They had the kid in a holding area at EWR just as if he had been booked on a nonstop EWR-ARN flight and delivered to that holding area by a parent or a check-in agent..


I am actually going to speculate that UA did not make the mistake in EWR. UA probably handed him off to Swissport, who ground handles both SK and EW, and they placed the kid on the wrong flight.
 
DenverTed
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:12 pm

Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:41 pm

Give them a break, they got the right continent, it seems like this is splitting hairs.
 
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DominikR83
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:57 pm

Two things come to my mind when reading this story.

1. If UA doesn`t agree with SK`s UM policy they should not accept SK selling tickets on their flights. I was once planning to go to the US on SQ(FRA-JFK) with a connection to a Jetblue flight. As both airlines have different luggage policies i checked on that and it clearly stated in Jetblue`s conditions of service that in case the flight was booked via another airline then the policy and conditions of the airline the flight was booked on do apply. SO in this case the policies of SK should be the valid ones.So i can`t see any reason for UA to refuse the boarding.

2. How on earth could this kid make it into this plane and onto its seat without a valid barding pass ? It is only a kid, but what if it would be an adult with bad ? I don`t expect that much nowadays but this should be the minimum standard of security that nobody,absolutely nobody can get into a plane who does not belong there !
 
STEADYFLYING
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:51 am

Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:22 pm

usflyer msp wrote:

I am actually going to speculate that UA did not make the mistake in EWR. UA probably handed him off to Swissport, who ground handles both SK and EW, and they placed the kid on the wrong flight.


This more recent article seems to support that theory. It appears the UM was placed on the wrong flight by Swissport. If this is the case then it should be SAS and Swissport who take the blame. Not United.

“The boarding for both flights was handled by an external service provider who was in charge for both SAS and Eurowings,” the airline told Fox News. “The passenger mistakenly received a boarding pass for the EW flight to DUS instead of a boarding pass for the SAS flight to Stockholm.”


https://www.foxnews.com/travel/united-airlines-boy-wrong-international-flight-cosmic-failure
 
cloudboy
Posts: 1123
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:38 pm

Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:30 pm

The problem here is that the airline took his passport and boarding pass, at United's insistence. They very well may have handed the kid off to Swissport or EW, and it may have been they who made the ultimate screw up by not verifying the boarding pass, but United ultimately assumed that responsibility, whether or not they "outsourced" that responsibility to another airline.

As for the boarding issue, I agree it is likely that it was Swissport who got confused. Was there another unaccompanied minor on that flight? Fortunately in this case the minor in question was able to figure out that he was on the wrong plane before it took off. I understand that the airlines need to hold on to the passport and a boarding pass, but I think the UM should also have their own boarding pass they keep with them. And it definitely helps if they are instructed by their parents and the person in charge to ask when boarding the plane to make sure they are going to the right place.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
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lightsaber
Moderator
Posts: 17928
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:54 pm

STEADYFLYING wrote:
usflyer msp wrote:

I am actually going to speculate that UA did not make the mistake in EWR. UA probably handed him off to Swissport, who ground handles both SK and EW, and they placed the kid on the wrong flight.


This more recent article seems to support that theory. It appears the UM was placed on the wrong flight by Swissport. If this is the case then it should be SAS and Swissport who take the blame. Not United.

“The boarding for both flights was handled by an external service provider who was in charge for both SAS and Eurowings,” the airline told Fox News. “The passenger mistakenly received a boarding pass for the EW flight to DUS instead of a boarding pass for the SAS flight to Stockholm.”


https://www.foxnews.com/travel/united-airlines-boy-wrong-international-flight-cosmic-failure

If that is the case, I concur.

Again, if this is too much hassle/expense the US will do what they did with pets, stop carrying them. I cannot imagine this is lucrative.

Lightsaber
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MIflyer12
Posts: 5630
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:02 pm

DominikR83 wrote:

1. If UA doesn`t agree with SK`s UM policy they should not accept SK selling tickets on their flights.


That seems to be a sensible rule. If UA thinks under-15s need to travel on UA/Express non-stops only (and they do - that's the policy) then partner carriers need to accept the same rule.

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