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

Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:03 pm

cloudboy wrote:
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.


I completely disagree. UA did their part - they got him to EWR and handed him off to Swissport/SK. IMHO, they are being bashed for something SK should actually be getting bashed for. In fact, UA went above and beyond by even accepting him against policy to begin with. No good deed goes unpunished...
 
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lightsaber
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:04 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 find this funny. My kids really look like me and my mom (their grandma). When we instruct someone they can do something, no one ever asks.

If my dad or their mom/family does, people get protective. (Note, DNA testing proved I'm my dad's kid, never a doubt, actually more related to him than normal, but within 3 standard deviations.). So unfortunately, there is some judgement going on based on family resemblance. In fact, my female relatives who also have the hair my daughters inherited can authorize anything!

But sad, but shouldn't the kid have known where to go to? It depends on the child though, I guess. My younger has a far better sense of direction/timing/destination than her two year older sister.

I'm just worried UA will have to put in a new policy excluding the chance of this happening. Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable on putting them on anything but a direct until my kids were say 32. :duck:

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

Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:57 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
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.


I really believe the primary responsibility is with SAS. They are selling the ticket and setting out the obligation with the customer.
 
JAGflyer
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:08 pm

Is anyone else questioning why a 14-year old was unable to manage their own travel without UM assistance or at the very least realize they were not going to Germany on Eurowings? Perhaps I'm an exception but I was fully capable of identifying what airline/flight I was going to be on by that age. We're not talking a small child here, this is a teenager who's in high school! In his mother's words, "he is an experienced traveller."
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
Cubsrule
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:31 pm

WildcatYXU wrote:
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.


It definitely depends on the country. Western European border agents tend to let US (and Canadian?) passport holders through with no fuss. Sometimes they see the passport cover and don't even bother to open it.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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Aesma
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:52 pm

So basically a 14yo (or even 12yo apparently) can run away and fly across the planet with nobody caring ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
diesel33
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:14 pm

JAGflyer wrote:
Is anyone else questioning why a 14-year old was unable to manage their own travel without UM assistance or at the very least realize they were not going to Germany on Eurowings? Perhaps I'm an exception but I was fully capable of identifying what airline/flight I was going to be on by that age. We're not talking a small child here, this is a teenager who's in high school! In his mother's words, "he is an experienced traveller."


Overall, I do agree with this and, if everything is on time, a 14 year old should be able to get himself/herself to their connection.

EWR isn't the most travel-friendly airport in the US. He/she would have to change terminals to get to their connection and their intra-terminal bus isn't that well advertised and you need to request the Terminal B stop.

It's the "what-ifs" of travel that give me reservations. What if something went wrong? If the RDU to EWR flight was delayed and arrived too close to the SK departure time, then this kid's mother would also be calling UA or on Twitter to have UA find her child in the chaos that is an airport on weather days. What if he misses the plane? He can't get himself his own hotel room. What does he do then? What if there are no close friends or relatives in the NYC area? Does UA also have to foot the bill for this kid's hotel room and assign someone to stay with him?

The unaccompanied minor fee is like traveler's insurance: you don't feel like you need it until you need it.
 
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WildcatYXU
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:24 pm

Aesma wrote:
So basically a 14yo (or even 12yo apparently) can run away and fly across the planet with nobody caring ?


I'm not sure. While our kids were traveling TATL alone and we never gave them any letter saying that they can travel, we were always at the check in with them when they were departing from this side and there was some adult family member with them at the check in on the European side. So I really don't know what would happen if they'd show up at the check in desk alone. But obviously they did the plane changes alone (FRA, VIE, IST, WAW)
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sciing
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:57 pm

Only the UM status „helped“ to bypass the standard checks for the Eurowings flight. Quite nice to pay for a service which only creates chaos, because the personell is not able to read a ticket carefully and look for the right flight.
But the reactions here clearly show the issue. Lack of responsibility and pure fear of customer.
„Christer Berg said his son was capable of flying by himself to Sweden, but as an unaccompanied minor, he had to turn over all of his documents to United personnel„
 
sciing
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:02 pm

JAGflyer wrote:
Is anyone else questioning why a 14-year old was unable to manage their own travel without UM assistance or at the very least realize they were not going to Germany on Eurowings? Perhaps I'm an exception but I was fully capable of identifying what airline/flight I was going to be on by that age. We're not talking a small child here, this is a teenager who's in high school! In his mother's words, "he is an experienced traveller."

They were forced to pay and use this incompetent and chaotic service!
Of course as child you do not challenge an adult authority.
 
sciing
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:06 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
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.


I really believe the primary responsibility is with SAS. They are selling the ticket and setting out the obligation with the customer.


Is this now US customer service policy? We force you to pay extra for an chaotic and incompetent and if we make mistakes we do not allow to use our service instead of improving.
 
dampfnudel
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:17 pm

RDUDDJI wrote:
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."

Can you elaborate?
A313 332 343 B703 712 722 732 73G 738 739 741 742 744 752 762 76E 764 772 AT5 CR9 D10 DHH DHT F27 GRM L10 M83 TU5
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:50 pm

sciing wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:

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.


I really believe the primary responsibility is with SAS. They are selling the ticket and setting out the obligation with the customer.


Is this now US customer service policy? We force you to pay extra for an chaotic and incompetent and if we make mistakes we do not allow to use our service instead of improving.


What are you talking about? SAS sold a ticket for a minor that involved a flight by another carrier that by policy he should not have been allowed to get on. Why isn’t SAS doing their homework?
 
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DIRECTFLT
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:54 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 alone at age 6 from Dallas to Denver. (1962)
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cloudboy
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:09 pm

JAGflyer wrote:
Is anyone else questioning why a 14-year old was unable to manage their own travel without UM assistance or at the very least realize they were not going to Germany on Eurowings? Perhaps I'm an exception but I was fully capable of identifying what airline/flight I was going to be on by that age. We're not talking a small child here, this is a teenager who's in high school! In his mother's words, "he is an experienced traveller."


He did. That is why they never took off. If he was traveling with UM status, chances are he was brought directly to the gate at boarding time and put right not he plane. He never saw his boarding pass or knew what airline or flight he was supposed to be getting on. It wasn't until he figured out they were speaking German that he called over the FA who turned got them to return to the gate. In this case the lid probably would have done a little better on his own.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
sciing
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:36 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
sciing wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:

I really believe the primary responsibility is with SAS. They are selling the ticket and setting out the obligation with the customer.


Is this now US customer service policy? We force you to pay extra for an chaotic and incompetent and if we make mistakes we do not allow to use our service instead of improving.


What are you talking about? SAS sold a ticket for a minor that involved a flight by another carrier that by policy he should not have been allowed to get on. Why isn’t SAS doing their homework?

UA forced the kid to be UM, not let them just let travel alone. Providing the UM service UA made a stupid mistake.
You are right according UA rules there should have been no UM service as it is quite clear that UA is to incompetent to deal with it. So 2 mistakes at the same time by UA.
As this was not booked as an UA flight the flight policies of SAS count. For SAS there is no need for UM above 12 years. For UA there is a rule to be at least 15 to travel without.
To clarify this is for sure not the problem of the customer how codeshare agreements handle different policies.
In the end UA get money for a job done terrible! They took the money so they have to care and are fully responsible for issues!
 
CONTACREW
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:46 pm

So many holes in this story and a lot of the stuff that isn’t being told. Unless this kid is severely mentally challenged I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell the difference between SAS & Eurowings and only spoke up after the aircraft was taxiing for takeoff something smells rotten with this story and it isn’t Denmark.
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westgate
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:57 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.


Well at just 15 I flew alone with my 10 year old younger brother on UA from LAX to SYD. This was back in 1995 though. And to top it off we had previously flown alone on NW on DCA-DTW-LAX and then had to change terminals in LAX.

Considering how ridiculously strict and over-protective of us our parents were and how irresponsible they believed me to be at the time, I have absolutely no idea why they thought this was a good idea !!! Looking back, so many problems could have occured, what if we had missed our connection in LAX. But we did somehow manage to make it to the other side of the planet with no issues whatsoever.
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:30 pm

sciing wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
sciing wrote:

Is this now US customer service policy? We force you to pay extra for an chaotic and incompetent and if we make mistakes we do not allow to use our service instead of improving.


What are you talking about? SAS sold a ticket for a minor that involved a flight by another carrier that by policy he should not have been allowed to get on. Why isn’t SAS doing their homework?

UA forced the kid to be UM, not let them just let travel alone. Providing the UM service UA made a stupid mistake.
You are right according UA rules there should have been no UM service as it is quite clear that UA is to incompetent to deal with it. So 2 mistakes at the same time by UA.
As this was not booked as an UA flight the flight policies of SAS count. For SAS there is no need for UM above 12 years. For UA there is a rule to be at least 15 to travel without.
To clarify this is for sure not the problem of the customer how codeshare agreements handle different policies.
In the end UA get money for a job done terrible! They took the money so they have to care and are fully responsible for issues!


United is the operating carrier. Only their policies apply. If they have 20 airlines code sharing thus flight should they have 20 different policies on one flight? Airlines don’t run that way.

And yes they should have never sold UM service. They should have denied check-in by policy.
 
ubeema
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:40 am

Can we stop blaming the kid here!
1) once designated UM he surrendered all travel documents airline/airport staff
2) he was escorted off to the next plane at EWR by airline/airport staff per UM procedures
3) he spoke up once he realized he was on wrong plane to wrong destination

In all this mess the kid is the hero!
 
AEROFAN
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:51 am

It's either the minor or mother's fault...
“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” ~Harlan Ellison~
 
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PA110
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:00 am

sw733 wrote:
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.


Not to go off on a tangent, but AF1 is not an aircraft designation, it is the call sign for any fixed wing Air Force operated aircraft carrying the President. The aircraft you're referencing is a Boeing VC-25A (highly modified B747-200). When the President flies into smaller airports unable to service a 747, he usually flies a C-32, the military equivalent of a B757. Bottom line, any USAF aircraft transporting the sitting President is given the call sign Air Force One, regardless of type of equipment.

OK, now back to the topic at hand:

This sounds like a Swissport screw-up. They're not the sharpest knives in the drawer, and it's a failure of both Swissport management to provide proper training and oversight, as well as the airlines for not providing proper training and oversight of their contractor.
Look, it's been swell, but the swelling's gone down.
 
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Lingon
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:36 am

CONTACREW wrote:
So many holes in this story and a lot of the stuff that isn’t being told. Unless this kid is severely mentally challenged I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell the difference between SAS & Eurowings and only spoke up after the aircraft was taxiing for takeoff something smells rotten with this story and it isn’t Denmark.


He is not aware of business relations between companies. Some months ago, the KLM flight from my little airport, normally flown by a KLM E-jet, was flown by a Fokker from Carpatair.
So, imagine, he is brought to the plane, he sees it is Eurowings, he says to the agent accompanying him "I was supposed to fly with a SAS plane", and the agent says "It is this plane, believe me", he thinks a subcontractor will fly this flight, he boards.

Push-back, there is an announcement "Welcome to this flight to Düsseldorf", he contacts cabin crew.

Not unimaginable to me.
 
Jomar777
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:33 am

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.


My son flew several times alone out of and into both LHR and LGW to Russia and Ukraine mainly for summer holidays with his grandma (she would pick him up at the arrivals on landing). Using mainly British Airways. But all of those were non-stop flights on their SOLO program.

The only thing that once went different was that, on one of those flights, when he was 7 years old, he got an upgrade to business.

I wonder, if he was flying on a SAS ticket. European Airlines are fine about UM and have their procedures. If he was on an SAS ticket and they were fine about connections, United would only be one of the carriers so the minor could have easily been accepted at Raleigh and the issue would lie with the ground staff at EWR and also with Eurowings (not chekcing properly the boarding pass).

Could happen although quite scary...
 
debonair
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:25 am

There is one BIG problem - EUROWINGS is not accepting any UM on US flights... :eyepopping:

Not only the ground crew should have known this rule, also the flight crew... If the UM was handed over to the flight crew, they should have been high alerted that something doesn't mix up.

Translated from the German webpage, as the English webpage was removed - very fishy... :scratchchin:

The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. :alert:


By google translation:

Eurowings offers a childcare service (UM-Service) for children between the ages of five and eleven years old on domestic German direct connections and direct connections from Germany to Zurich or Vienna. :alert: :alert:
 
OB1504
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:33 pm

CONTACREW wrote:
So many holes in this story and a lot of the stuff that isn’t being told. Unless this kid is severely mentally challenged I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell the difference between SAS & Eurowings and only spoke up after the aircraft was taxiing for takeoff something smells rotten with this story and it isn’t Denmark.


Even adults don’t know what airline they’re supposed to be flying half the time. It wouldn’t surprise me that the kid didn’t notice where the flight was going until they were taxiing to the runway and the captain announced the flying time to Dusseldorf.

Gate information displays can sometimes add to the confusion by displaying the logos and flight numbers of codeshare carriers and sometimes even the names of cities the flight continues on to.

PA110 wrote:
This sounds like a Swissport screw-up. They're not the sharpest knives in the drawer, and it's a failure of both Swissport management to provide proper training and oversight, as well as the airlines for not providing proper training and oversight of their contractor.


That happens when they outsource to the lowest bidder.
 
9w748capt
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Re: United Puts Unaccompanied Minor on Flight to the Wrong Country

Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:41 pm

OB1504 wrote:
That happens when they outsource to the lowest bidder.


It's interesting to me that when Boeing outsources and then doesn't deliver the product promised, well, that's just because of Ethiopia and Indonesia. But then when UA outsources and they mess it up, well that's just wrong!

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