Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
jetblue32
Topic Author
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:05 pm

Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:14 pm

With the busy summer travel season coming to a close, I must say how happy I am not to have any more unaccompanied minors until X-mas holidays. Some of these parents/guardians are just beyond belief! It is no wonder other airlines are hiking their UM fees. I have routinely had to wait hours for them to come pick up their children. One actually called and asked me to release their children and put them in a cab! (of course I'm required to have the specified guardian show up and sign the papers to release the child). Another even showed up intoxicated! Once I had to meet a flight with 12 UM's coming off, and one ran off from me! (fortunately, he was noticed by another airline employee who took the time figure out the situation and bring him back to us, I sure could have used some help with that group, though). Just curious, do any other airline employees have any horror stories with unaccompanied minors?
 
HPAEAA
Posts: 1142
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 7:24 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:27 pm

There was always the 2 UMs that had the guardian on my end of course who got stuck in traffic.. mind you the UMs where walking to Baggage with me and started singing "Janie has a gun" in permit repetition... rather loudly in the terminal...

Or my poor coworker who who had to stay in a hotel with 2 female UMs after their flight diverted and canceled...
1.4mm and counting...
 
Falcon84
Posts: 13775
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:52 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:33 pm

This week, in fact. I'm working COEX 3489 to LGA at Pier 17 at CLE. 3489 inbound ATL-CLE was delayed due to WX down around ATL. Running the CLE-LGA as an extra section. There's a UM onboard the inbound from ATL going to LGA. She is going to miss the continuation, and by a wide margain, and I'm thinking "why the HELL is ATL boarding this UM, when she'll have to end the night in CLE?"

Well, found out from my fomer colleagues in Connect Planning that ATL almost had no choice, since the father of the child in ATL was refusing to take the child back home, and basically walked out of the airport, leaving the child behind.

Sometimes, the drama isn't with the airline-it's some of the assholes who helped create the children, then after a divorce, to get back at the other spouse, don't give a shit about their progeny.
Work Right, Fly Hard
 
44k
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:07 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:15 pm

UMNR's are the worst. I dread every time to look at the lights SS list... Just the other day this UM comes in from ORD, of course, noone there to pick her up. The person listed as meeting her is her grandmother. Soon her Mother arrives at the airport and makes a huge scene at the baggage service office that we won't release the UM to her, but to the person that is listed on the docs. So I call up the grandma, and until she got to the airport we had to keep the UM at the gates, while the mother was going psycho at the BSO office.

99% of the time the parents are not aware that they need to obtain a gate pass to pick up UM's at the gate. We do not have enough personel to walk the minor all over the aiport most of the time. Lots of time the parents are fuming that they need to go and pick up the minors themselves Yelling "WHAT IS THE 75 DOLLAR FEE FOR?!!? I WILL NEVER FLY AA AGAIN etc etc" I sure hope they wont! One time it go so bad, we had to call the police on one mother.

Needless to say, I would love to see the UMNR service discontinued...at least I'm glad that the summer season is finally over....
 
Analog
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:24 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:12 pm

Quoting 44k (Reply 3):
UMNR's are the worst. I dread every time to look at the lights SS list... Just the other day this UM comes in from ORD, of course, noone there to pick her up. The person listed as meeting her is her grandmother. Soon her Mother arrives at the airport and makes a huge scene at the baggage service office that we won't release the UM to her, but to the person that is listed on the docs. So I call up the grandma, and until she got to the airport we had to keep the UM at the gates, while the mother was going psycho at the BSO office.

Ouch. OTOH if somebody said that you couldn't have your child (even if it was agreed to on paper), getting frustrated is understandable. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that kind of situation.

What if the grandma had gone to the hospital? Would you have to send the kid back to ORD? What if the parent at ORD was not reachable?

[Edited 2007-08-31 09:13:39]
 
ASAFA
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:08 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:14 pm

Quoting Analog (Reply 4):
Ouch. OTOH if somebody said that you couldn't have your child (even if it was agreed to on paper), getting frustrated is understandable. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that kind of situation.

I believe you can list multiple people on the paperwork. If grandma and mom live in the same city and would both be able to pick up the child shouldn't you list them both? How about a neighbor as a back-up? (CSA's can you confirm?) If someone shows up who isn't listed you can't release the child, period. What if mom is forbidden to see the child due to unknown circumstances (abuse, etc.). This is the reason for the paperwork in the first place! It's a sad situation any time you have a UNMR caught up in a battle between parents/guardians.

One time we had an unexpected UNMR on board whose mother had gone into labor in the terminal. They were en-route to grandma's and he was so scared getting on the flight by himself as his mom was taken to the hospital. I ended up sitting with him almost the entire flight playing gameboy and keeping him preoccupied. During landing we had a missed approach which made him even more scared, but in the end grandma was there to pick him up and everything worked out fine (and he has a new baby brother/sister too!)

I commend the ground folks who have to go above and beyond to take care of these kids, but I know we are all thankful UM season is coming to a close.
 
flytuitravel
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 2:46 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:54 pm

Hey, UM's aren't that bad! Well I wasn't anyway! I was an unaccompanied minor this year out of LHR and I behaved myself! But I can see where you're coming from when you get the naughty ones!

 Smile
 
Doona
Posts: 3382
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:43 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:04 pm

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 6):
Hey, UM's aren't that bad! Well I wasn't anyway!

Same here, and I have to applaud the handlers for taking very good care of me. Arriving by car in ATL back when I was 11 years old (1996, I believe), we'd been delayed on the interstate because of a big car crash. We arrived at the Lufthansa check-in desk 20 mins before the STD, and the check-in lady said I wouldn't be able to board the flight. Dad took the whole thing calmly and figure that we could overnight in ATL and get on the flight the next day. So we were just about to turn around and leave when the agent at the desk got off the phone and said that the plane was delayed for 15 mins, and that if I hurried, I'd be allowed to board. So off I went in tow of a handler to the people mover, ran as fast as we could towards the gate when we got the international concourse, and was allowed to board.

And you make UM's feel special as well. Breezing through immigration in the crew line (or the refugee line, which happened to me once), priority boarding, and of course, where a UM holding cell was not available, they'd let me sit in the airline's business lounge. Thanks for making me feel special!

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:07 pm

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 6):
Hey, UM's aren't that bad!

to be fair most of the posts say the UMs themselves are fine , it is the parents/guardians who often seem to cause the problems .

In several years in the travel industry I dont think anyone shocked me as much as the mother who wanted to send her 15 month old baby as an UM from AKL-LHR ( approx 26 hours including a two hour stop in LAX ) so that the grandparents could see him - she was seriously surprised and indignant that she couldnt do it and saw absolutely nothing wrong with the concept. When I asked her whether she had considered who would change the babys nappies* en-route she just replied that "surely the crew are capable of doing that" ( Presumably she also thought one of the cabin attendants would be available to breastfeed as well ) . I had to bite my tongue to stop myself asking whether she had considered sending the infant as a package ... I really didn't want to put that idea into her head.




* "diapers" for those of you who dont speak English
 
chris133
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:41 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:49 pm

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 2):
Well, found out from my fomer colleagues in Connect Planning that ATL almost had no choice, since the father of the child in ATL was refusing to take the child back home, and basically walked out of the airport, leaving the child behind.

If that's the case wouldn't your procedures require you to call the police or child services. It seems a little suspicious that the "they had no choice but to send a child" knowing they would not make it. I'm just thinking out loud and asking, not condemning anyone.
 
airbazar
Posts: 10202
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:40 pm

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 8):
to be fair most of the posts say the UMs themselves are fine , it is the parents/guardians who often seem to cause the problems .

And of course, lets not forget the thousands of parents of UMs who actually behave themselves and do the right things. My sister and I were UM's from as early as I could remember, contantly traveling between our home and my grandparents' home during school holiday, and the only incident we ever had was when we forgot to pack the release form. But that was a honest mistake. Complaining about the parents of UM's is similar to the same whining about babies in the cabin, or "we're not there to serve you but to protect your safety", etc. How many of these bad cases would have been avoided if the airline was properly staffed and did the right job at informing the parents that they should, for example, put more than one name down as the legal guardian? Like everything else, with every horror story, I'm sure there's also another side to the story and maybe even the real truth somewhere in the middle. For better or for worse, tt's part of the job and to claim in a public forum that you hate it, doesn't realy make you or your employer look good. There are things about my job that I don't like but I would never comment on it in public. One more reason why we're so incredibly profitable.
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:48 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:50 pm

I once had 19 UM's on my plane from Dayton. Like you, one ran off from me and the parent tried to give me an earfull. I turned it around on them and said that the other 18 children listened to me and their's did not. Perhaps they should instill a little more respect for authority and better listening skills instead of trying to belittle me.

I truly think that anything over 8 or 10 UM's should have a company representative travel with the group to assist the crews. Parents pay a fee for an extra service for their children and I understand that. I have two of my own children. But flight attendants are not babysitters.
 
ZakHH
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:32 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:50 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 7):
...back when I was 11 years old (1996, I believe)...

You don't know the exact year when you were 11 years old? Big grin
Tired of a.net? Join a friendly aviation community!
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:48 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:55 pm

There are policies and procedures, yes. A parent or other named guardian or representative MUST be available and reachable on both ends, departure and arrival. If there is no one to pick them for any number of reasons... but to address the question about refusing and such... yes, we are required to contact the police and they will handle it from there.
 
standby87
Posts: 405
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 2:33 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:20 pm

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 8):
In several years in the travel industry I dont think anyone shocked me as much as the mother who wanted to send her 15 month old baby as an UM from AKL-LHR ( approx 26 hours including a two hour stop in LAX ) so that the grandparents could see him - she was seriously surprised and indignant that she couldnt do it and saw absolutely nothing wrong with the concept. When I asked her whether she had considered who would change the babys nappies* en-route she just replied that "surely the crew are capable of doing that" ( Presumably she also thought one of the cabin attendants would be available to breastfeed as well ) .

LMFHO! I think I know that mother:

She was the one who arrived at LHR on Xmas Eve and explained to Immigration she'd be staying with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. True!

As many have said, UMs are fine - it's the (often divorced) parents in their stress-filled lives who often aren't.
 
AIR757200
Posts: 1466
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2000 8:30 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:37 pm

Quoting 44k (Reply 3):
Needless to say, I would love to see the UMNR service discontinued...at least I'm glad that the summer season is finally over....

I would also love to see the service discontinued, also, I think the we should not allow passengers who completely immobile to travel alone as well (why should I deal with an aisle chair for a passenger that weighs 300 lbs?!.. they should have their own nurse, etc. do it.) It's amazing to see what state some of these passengers are travelling in alone.
 
MANmatt
Posts: 861
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:23 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:48 am

I hate these little brats! One time I had 3 UM's come off a flight from YUL and 2 of them thought it would be fun to sit on the baggage carousel and go around with the bags! There are 2 that fly on my flights to AMS that are well known to myself and my colleagues on the ground and we hate having to deal with them as they are always up to something. Last time 1 of my colleagues was taking them to the gate, going through security 1 of them declared that he had a bomb in his boxers and then the other had sneaked his toy gun in to his shoulder bag without his mum seeing! Needless to say, their mum was called over to speak to security and the lads were given (yet another) stern warning about their behaviour in the airport!

Rgrds, Matt
 
ACFA
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:41 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:51 am

Perhaps airlines should charge an hourly fee if the parents don't show up to pick up their child. Sounds like a reasonable idea to me.
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:05 am

Quoting MANmatt (Reply 16):
One time I had 3 UM's come off a flight from YUL and 2 of them thought it would be fun to sit on the baggage carousel and go around with the bags!

Hey, I've thought that looked like fun... If I wasn't terified of being shot as soon as I got to the backside of the wall, there are times when I would actually do it!

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
greenair727
Posts: 1473
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:27 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:31 am

Quote:
"why the HELL is ATL boarding this UM, when she'll have to end the night in cle?"

What does an airline do with an UM that misses his connection til the next day?
 
ILOVEA340
Posts: 2064
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 1999 9:49 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:34 am

I think that one of the few incredibly intelligent decisions that the US Airways management has made has been to only permitt UM's on non-stop flight w/o any connections. It just takes a lot of the hassle out of the whole situation!
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting Greenair727 (Reply 19):
What does an airline do with an UM that misses his connection til the next day?

Most airlines won't board (at least according to their policy) a UMNR on the last flight of the day to minimize this possibility... if they do misconnect and it involves an overnight stay usually from what I understand they will be sent either home (the employee's home not the umnr) with or to a hotel with a same-gendered airline employee for supervision.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ASAFA
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:08 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:36 am

Quoting ILOVEA340 (Reply 20):
I think that one of the few incredibly intelligent decisions that the US Airways management has made has been to only permitt UM's on non-stop flight w/o any connections.

I think this only applies to UM's under a certain age, and most carriers have this restriction. If the kids are old enough they are allowed to make connections, because obviously it is impossible to reach most destinations non-stop.
 
WestJetYQQ
Posts: 2763
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:31 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:50 am

Quoting 44k (Reply 3):

99% of the time the parents are not aware that they need to obtain a gate pass to pick up UM's at the gate. We do not have enough personel to walk the minor all over the aiport most of the time. Lots of time the parents are fuming that they need to go and pick up the minors themselves Yelling "WHAT IS THE 75 DOLLAR FEE FOR?!!? I WILL NEVER FLY AA AGAIN etc etc" I sure hope they wont! One time it go so bad, we had to call the police on one mother.

I kind of like the way WestJet deals with UMs. The fee is something like $25, and the kids get the little 'VIP' tag, and are escorted to the baggage claim and their parents by a CSA. I was a UM a few years ago with this service.
Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
 
ILOVEA340
Posts: 2064
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 1999 9:49 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:07 am

Quoting ASAFA (Reply 22):
I think this only applies to UM's under a certain age, and most carriers have this restriction. If the kids are old enough they are allowed to make connections, because obviously it is impossible to reach most destinations non-stop.

It actually applies to ALL passengers 14 and under who must be treated as unaccompanied Minors and also ANY person under 18 who requests the services of being an unaccompanied minor!

Essentially if you need to be escorted to the gate and looked after on the plane and then back to family on arrival, you can;t make a connection.
 
skoker
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:49 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:40 am

Quoting WestJetYQQ (Reply 23):
I kind of like the way WestJet deals with UMs. The fee is something like $25, and the kids get the little 'VIP' tag, and are escorted to the baggage claim and their parents by a CSA. I was a UM a few years ago with this service.

I like the way WN deals with it... free.
-------

I had an amusing story the other day... I had a older lady come to me (I was in Information at BUF at the time) freaking out because CO had called the police because she had not come to claim her child. Turns out she was in a probation hearing that ran late, and the hearing had to be postponed so that she could come claim her child (this was at 4:45, the flight arrived at noon). She was so distraught after I took her up to CO ticketing to get a gate pass that I had to page a CO Skycap to come get her.
 
hush-kit
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2000 4:43 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:03 am

Quoting ASAFA (Reply 22):
I think this only applies to UM's under a certain age, and most carriers have this restriction. If the kids are old enough they are allowed to make connections, because obviously it is impossible to reach most destinations non-stop.

ILOVEA340 is right ! My wife wanted to send her daughter (10yrs) DFW to FRA on US, via PHL. As all 3 of us wanted to be on the same flight back from Europe to DFW, and me and my wife had already tickets on US, we did not have a choice other then booking my stepdaughter on US aswell. With the little side effect, that my wife had to take one day off, get with her on the plane to PHL, get her onboard US700 @PHL , and head back to DFW. I know that airlines like AF,DL,CO do accept UM internationally on flights via their hub. Regards, Chris
 
MCOflyer
Posts: 7088
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:51 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:09 am

When I made my first trip alone at 16 I had that option. No way I said. I behaved and acted like a mature individual. The f/a's were polite and the Captain said to me that most people (UM's) are rude because the parents are not with them.

I've seen kids who are rude and it makes me wanna puke. I sometimes feel bad when kids cause trouble for the f/a's who go above and beyond. Thanks EWRCabincrew and other caring f./a's.

I had to sit by a brother and sister one time on my recent US flight and I explanied everything and assured them nothing would go wrong as this was thier first time flying. The head f/a thanked me for looking after them. These were the only 2 polite UM's I have run across.

Hunter
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
ILOVEA340
Posts: 2064
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 1999 9:49 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:16 am

Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 27):
I've seen kids who are rude

I have never ONCE seen a rude UM. They are usually way to anxious to be rude. It's usually the parents that are impossible!
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:33 am

My personal story of UM drama from the perspective of the UM.

As a child I flew non-rev (Maman worked for AF for a quarter century) UM from the time I was about 7 (prior to that I was always with the parents or older brothers and sisters) and this was when you couldn't get from ATL to ORY/CDG from ATL without stopping somewhere. Used to be a stop at JFK for the AF/PA/TW flight (whoever had space-a) and we would be watched by the local AF rep (Janine something who was very nice to my mother to keep us on our layover....and was very patient with my brother and I who would stay in the employee lounge buying canned chili and cokes from the machine and running loose in the baggage area...ah the days of yesteryear in the airline business).

Well, after about age 11 I no longer felt I needed the UM treatment and I discarded the hanging tag they issued (for babies!) and I knew my way around most airports in the free world sufficiently that I'd make my flights and simply check in with the persons my mother was expecting to hear from so they could inform her I'd made it past whatever checkpoint it was (i.e. the AF desk at JFK/BRU/LGW/LHR or whereever I was) and move out to my next flight. It was quite the adventure for me when I was 12, as opposed to something approaching drudgery today, but on my way home when I was 14 I had a very long trip after spending the summer at an Air France employees childrens summer camp in Bulle (Morlon, actually). I had left Morlon for Paris via Vevey by train, arrived at the Gare de l'Est (I think) at 0darkthirty and taken by cab to the airport where I was left sitting in the employee cafeteria for a breakfast of boudin and coffee, neither of which I liked, and then rushed by ramp bus to my flight to NYC since it was a last minute deal as all the flights were full and my priority as a child of an employee was rather low, but they found me a jump seat on a plane and off I went. Now all that happened because my mother was somewhat infamous as being someone in the organization that no one wished to cross so they took a personal attention for me as that was easier than dealing with my mother if I was late.

It was a great flight, because for me they'd put me in the jump seat for takeoff and landing which was incredibly terrific for a little airplane geek like I was (and still am) as the pilot knew and liked my mother (I think he had a crush) and let me sit in his seat for what seemed like two hours (certainly not more than 10 or 20 minutes) while in flight (and if the pilot is back in the passenger cabin and the copilot has his hands off the wheel while I've got my hands on the yoke.....who is flying the airplane? So, for me, it was great, and I slept not a wink either on the train or the airport or on the flight, and disembarked in New York somewhat disheveled and tired.

oh, and I had taken off my cast that I had placed on me in hospital in Bulle when I dislocated my middle finger, while I was sitting in the airplane as it was stinking (two weeks of cast = smelly) and had taken off my blazer (remember when non-revs had to wear coat and tie?)

I disembarked and walked out of the terminal headed for Easterns terminal to catch my ride back to ATL. Since I'd forgotten to check in with AF desk I had no vouchers for transfer and decided, instead of going back in, to walk to the EA terminal. No biggie. Except I forgot my mothers admonishment to check in. I figured I'd do it when I got to EA and not worry about it.

I arrived at EA and the snide...very snide...gate agent pointed out to me that I had no jacket on. I checked my rucksack where I'd hung it for the walk across JFK's center lots (yeah, smart of me) and realized it had fallen off. I told him I must have lost it and he told me...the 13/14 year old kid that I could not embark on the aircraft unless I had the jacket....sorry but rules are rules. I asked him if he'd ever met my mother and he very snidely said that he didn't care if my mother was the Queen of England I wasn't getting on the airplane without a jacket. I was non-rev, and where was my UM tag? I told him I'd try to find the tag...forgetting completely calling my mother. I backtracked across the lots and amazingly (no one could ever say anything blanket bad about New Yorkers to me after this) I found my jacket folded neatly laying over one of the fences surrounding the parking lots, having obviously been brushed of the dirt where it had been laying. I grabbed it and ran, not walked as my flight was leaving in 12 minutes from then and I did not wish to miss it, back to the EA terminal where I dashed through security and arrived at the gate where I was greeted by the snide agent and some other old dude (when I was that age anyone over 18 was older, and a guy in his 40s was ancient).

The EA station manager asked me if I was who I was and my mothers son, and I said yes I was. He then asked me if I'd identified myself to the gate agent as a non-rev UA and I said I had....by this time the agent was looking less snide than before, and the EA station manager spoke into his walkie talkie that he'd found "the missing boy" and to call Air France and the Port Authority Police to call off the search, and suggested to me that I go call my mother. I pointed out I'd miss the flight, and he said that he was holding the flight for me and to go ahead. I did not really think much of this, since I was still catching my breath and sort of worried I was in trouble, but I called home...collect, of course....and my father (ultra cool for an old dude in almost all situations...the older I got the cooler he got) answered and said he'd accept the call. He asked me where I was, and I told him....he wanted to know how the flight had been over from Paris, and I told him....he asked about the weather in New York, and I said hot and muggy....he asked me about my finger and cast and I told him it was better and I'd taken the smelly thing off because it stank and the stewardesses were nicer to me after I'd washed up and didn't stink anymore..to which he responded "Aha!" and then he said (and I quote) "Well, you probably oughta speak with your mother, since she's already called the airport manager, the Mayor of New York, the Governors office and the National Guard since they missed you coming off the plane earlier." Just like that and with no discernable excitement. "I tried to tell her you knew your way around and would turn up eventually, but she was fairly excited and...." and he was cut off by my mothers voice in her worst French accent (which gets worse when she gets excited and starts speaking in two or three different languages) demanding to speak with me. She went through the entire litany of admonishments and affections until my father took the phone back in mid-yell from her and suggested I go ahead and get on the flight home and he'd see me in a couple hours and we'd get Mexican food which was my usual first supper home from overseas.......so I wasn't sure he was serious about the Mayors office and Governor and National Guard. When I got off the payphone and turned around the Air France station manager was there, and a police officer was there. The policeman asked me whether everything was ok and wanted to know who my parents were than the Governers office had called his chief to find out where the hell I was because someone exploded their telephone in a burst of excited calls demanding to know what they were doing to find her son who was missing somewhere at the airport. The station manager reminded them all they were holding the airplane for me (because Maman had called the Presidents office of Eastern Airlines to someone she knew and subsequently had Frank Borman call the station manager there looking for me....I'm fairly sure I would not have wanted to be in that snide gate agents shoes later that day) and they'd like to take off.

At that point I got on the flight and the stewardess (flight attendant now, I know, but stewardess then) saw my ticket nad asked me if I'd had a nice trip so far, and I said "sure", and said that they were told to keep an eye on me for the rest of the trip and that I'd been seated in the jump seat up front. SO when I arrived in Atlanta at the old terminal and my father and slightly hysterical mother were waiting for me at the gate I was in a great mood. Tired as hell, not having slept since the day before, and carrying a rucksack and the old Air France carryone bag (you know...the old baby blue hand tote)and still needing to get my suitcase (full of dirty laundry) I was informed of the tremendous trial I had put my mother through over the last several hours and furthermore who told me I could take off my own cast since they'd told the Air France crew to look for a boy in a cast and they did not recognize me without it and it went on until my dad looked at me and said "you think that's bad....you sure as hell didn't want to be in her way if you worked for Air France, Eastern, the airport police or the mayors office or the governors office......you caused a ruckus.....next time call. You ready for Mexican food?"

Sorry for the long story, but it's funny to see what happened back then versus what would have happened today, and it reminds me how cool my old man was under pressure......I know my brother in law lost my niece in a mall once and everyone else lost their heads.....I just looked around the food court from a table top until I spotted the little blond head looking up and thanked the old man for teaching logic.....

anyway...funny UM story that was full of drama for dozens of employees and support people.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
bok269
Posts: 1568
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:36 am

I flew as a UM once. It was JFK-STT on AA. I was traveling with three other people who were all UMs. We were delayed a little bit going out, no problem, our parents waited with us. We boarded, the flight took off and we were met on the other end. On the way back we got to board first (up the airstairs) onto the empty 757. One of the F/A's talked to us about the safety procedures to make sure we knew it all, which I thought was a very good thing. Arriving in JFK we were met by our parents, and all was fine.

I understand how bad kids (and parents can be) . hats off to the F/A's and CSA's out there who half to deal with UMs. Not an easy task at all.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
kangarooman
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 4:41 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:54 am

Quoting MANmatt (Reply 16):
There are 2 that fly on my flights to AMS that are well known to myself and my colleagues on the ground and we hate having to deal with them as they are always up to something. Last time 1 of my colleagues was taking them to the gate, going through security 1 of them declared that he had a bomb in his boxers and then the other had sneaked his toy gun in to his shoulder bag without his mum seeing! Needless to say, their mum was called over to speak to security and the lads were given (yet another) stern warning about their behaviour in the airport!

I think I know the two you are referring to I was there when the kid said he had the the 'bomb in his boxers'. I can remember one of my colleagues having a stern talk to him about it!!

Roo
A/C Flown EI 146&320, MYT 763&333, WW 733&735, AZ 319&MD80, LS 146, FR 738, 2L F100, LX 320&321, A3 RJ100, FI 752 AB 738
 
GimliGlider
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:29 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:03 am

Do kids 14 and under really have to be UMs? I wasn't one when I was 14 and flew on LH from DEN to FRA and back. Was it perhaps because I didn't need to make a connection?
"You could attach that to your house and still go 0-60 in 5 seconds..."
 
cha747
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:07 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:44 am

I flew as an UM once CHA-BNA-DFW-MAF and backwards. This was in the mid/early 80's when BNA was an AA hub. I got along so well with the lady who ran the UM lounge at BNA that when I came back with my family a few weeks later, I went in to say hello and she invited me and my family to stay in the lounge until our next flight. This was also back in the day when if you said you were hungry (or it was around mealtime), they just wrote-up a voucher and accompanied you to the foodcourt. Back then, $10 went a looooong way at Au Bon Pain!
Piedmontgirl was always right
 
LH431
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:29 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:56 am

Quoting GimliGlider (Reply 33):
Do kids 14 and under really have to be UMs?

No, I don't think so. I travelld FRA-ORD-DSM and back on LH/UA in 1999 when I was 13yo. Everything was fine and mom was very proud of me!
LH's Website says:
Children aged between five and 12 may only fly unaccompanied if they are using our supervision service or if they are travelling with someone who is at least 12 years old.
Children aged from 12 up to a maximum of 17 years old can also be looked after at the request of their parents.
There is a better way to fly
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:49 am

Not a horror story about UMs, but it cracked me up at the time.

Mid-80s, going AC YWG - YVR, early afternoon flight. I had the aisle bulkhead seat in Y,
with brother & sister UMs in mid & windows resp. Girl about 12, boy about 8.

Once at altitud,e FA came along with the drinks cart, I ordered a scotch & soda. The
boy looked at my drink, looked at me, looked at the FA, looked at my drink again.
"Can I have one of those ?" he asked. The FA & I were nearly as one voice with a
"Not a chance, young man". LOL! He settled for a Coke.

It never hurts to ask, I suppose.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
LFutia
Posts: 3159
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2002 11:04 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:02 am

I deal with UM's every day. I heard yesterday that a UM coming from SJU was very sarcastic to the FA and rude. He was connecting to ARN on SAS. Most of my UM's that i deal with are very nice and well behaved.

Leo
Leo/ORD
 
zvezda
Posts: 8886
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:19 am

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 8):
I had to bite my tongue to stop myself asking whether she had considered sending the infant as a package ... I really didn't want to put that idea into her head.

It's best to wipe up any spillage of pollutants into the gene pool as early as possible.

Quoting Chris133 (Reply 9):
If that's the case wouldn't your procedures require you to call the police or child services.

In most cases, that results in more harm to the child than a sub-optimal parent.
 
OB1504
Posts: 3988
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:47 am

I flew as an unaccompanied minor on an LIM-MIA segment with LA two months ago, but being 15, I was pretty much treated like any adult passenger. I checked in by myself, took my carry-ons through security, went through immigration upon arrival at MIA, got my bags from the carousel, went through customs... no problems.

All in all, it took about 15 minutes to go through the entire arrivals process, which is a personal best. Granted, I stayed on the airplane for about 10 minutes visiting the flight deck, and then I explored most of Concourse A's third floor, so there wasn't any line anymore at immigration, my bag was already on the carousel, and there weren't any other passengers at customs, either.
 
TrvlnMan
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:53 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:52 am

Quoting ZakHH (Reply 12):
Quoting Doona (Reply 7):
...back when I was 11 years old (1996, I believe)...

You don't know the exact year when you were 11 years old?

 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl   rotfl 
 
User avatar
seabosdca
Posts: 6607
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:54 am

I'm a longtime lurker... this topic is the one that sent me over the membership edge, because it brings back so many memories.

Growing up, I lived with my mom in SEA, but spent summers and holidays with my dad in GVA. Thus I flew SEA-GVA-SEA twice a year from age 7 to age 18, with lots of different airlines. And I got treated in lots of different ways, especially before I turned 12 and could just ask airline staff to leave me alone as I knew what I was doing. I always just liked being left alone -- I was perfectly capable of getting myself to a connecting flight or out of the airport as necessary, even in relatively large and complicated airports. And, generally, staff were less concerned about liability than they appear today.

BA was the most meddlesome, probably because they did not really believe this nine- or ten-year-old kid could really navigate an LHR T3 -> T1 or T1 -> T3 transfer by himself. So I remember sitting in isolated UM pens a lot, waiting for staff, and being given coloring books I had little interest in. (I would much rather, naturally, have been looking at all the unique aircraft -- almost all 741s and 742s back then, with a few D10s and L10s -- at T3.) On the plus side, a sympathetic BA F/A once informally upgraded me all the way to F on a SEA-LHR leg -- still one of my most memorable flights -- and I also once got seated in a 741 upper deck.

PA and TW left me alone, for the most part, even (in TW's case) to the extent of handing me a hotel voucher and sending me off into the New York night by myself when I missed a connection at JFK at age 12. (Everything would have been fine had I had more than $10 cash... and had my mom calmed down a little.)

SR, naturally enough for a Swiss airline, were friendly but very insistent that I follow the procedures, to the point of getting upset if I moved the (sticky and uncomfortable) UM neck pouch from my neck to my carry-on. But I still remember how sparkly clean the interiors of their D10s were, especially compared to those old PA 741s.

I don't think either of my parents ever caused any of the airlines much trouble, except for my dad's occasional slight tardiness picking me up. It's unfortunate that the parents in earlier posts are so unaware of themselves that they would not only cause hardworking employees grief, but do it in front of their kids -- perpetuating the cycle.
 
iad51fl
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:21 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:55 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 21):
if they do misconnect and it involves an overnight stay usually from what I understand they will be sent either home (the employee's home not the umnr) with or to a hotel with a same-gendered airline employee for supervision.

Now days with the sue happy people....never take a UMNR home with you. At least that is the policy for CO. Too many chances of "things" being said/done/etc. Always get a hotel room and a room across the hall, spent many a night with my door propped open and the desk moved facing the doorway.

I have had to call the Police two times, with regards to UMNR's. One child waited 3 hours before the parents called to say they were on their way, they were at dinner and then decided to catch a movie before picking up their child.

The other was a parent who wanted to go shopping and said she would be there in 4 to 5 hours, to pick up the child.

Both times I was the closing agent and the only agent working, and had 4 RON's coming in. So I was unable to watch the child until the parent arrived.

Chris
Enjoying the view of KIAH approach end of 27. 29.980548, -95.271201
 
TrvlnMan
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:53 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:02 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 21):
if they do misconnect and it involves an overnight stay usually from what I understand they will be sent either home (the employee's home not the umnr) with or to a hotel with a same-gendered airline employee for supervision.

To a hotel, but NEVER to an employees (a stranger's) home... that's way too much liability - and you are correct, it has to be with a same gendered employee.
 
dbo861
Posts: 1056
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:03 am

Quoting Greenair727 (Reply 19):
What does an airline do with an UM that misses his connection til the next day?

I know that at CVG, if a UM misses their connection and has to stay overnight, a Comair CSA takes the kid home and he/she stays at the CSA's house. They can't put the kid in a hotel unsupervised overnight.
 
OHLHD
Posts: 2903
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:02 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:13 am

Quoting Jetblue32 (Thread starter):
do any other airline employees have any horror stories with unaccompanied minors?

Years ago I had one UM that was demanding me to care his bags etc etc. I told him that it doesn't work like that. He dropped his bag and we stood around his bag for 30min with nobody giving up. Finally I won because he was tired Big grin

In the end it was actually a nice boy being just pissed because he had to spent his summer ( 7 weeks) alone in a holiday camp away from his family.

Quoting FlyTUITravel (Reply 6):
Hey, UM's aren't that bad! Well I wasn't anyway!

I was a nightmare. I always wanted to watch the aircrafts especially in HEL when I sometimes had up to 6 hours of waiting time. I never run away, I was just curious to see more and more aircrafts. This was when I fall in love with this bird here:



The next year the remembered me and locked me in the ground staff recreation room Big grin Big grin
 
LASoctoberB6
Posts: 1936
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:23 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:21 am

for some of the more well mannered children out there, it's kind of unfair to say you "hate" them all. me being at an airport is already enough to shut me up and my brother listening to his tunes or on his PSP. but yes, some kids are jerks, sometimes not. it could also be their parents too...
[NOT IN SERVICE] {WEStJet}
 
bok269
Posts: 1568
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:38 am

Quoting GimliGlider (Reply 32):
Do kids 14 and under really have to be UMs? I wasn't one when I was 14 and flew on LH from DEN to FRA and back. Was it perhaps because I didn't need to make a connection?

It varies airline to airline. The upper limit is 14 as far as max required age for UMs. I once was traveling with a friend who was 14 and I was 15. I was acting as his guardian so he didn't have to go UM. He is a lineman. I was 5' 7" and 110 lbs. At check-in, the agent laughed when we told him this.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
Pboud0
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:08 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:53 am

I like what AC and WS do, the UM can only go on direct non stop flights. Makes things a heck of a lot easier in the middle of an irregular operation.
 
sea2pdx
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:26 pm

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:39 am

Quoting Bok269 (Reply 46):
It varies airline to airline. The upper limit is 14 as far as max required age for UMs. I once was traveling with a friend who was 14 and I was 15. I was acting as his guardian so he didn't have to go UM. He is a lineman. I was 5' 7" and 110 lbs. At check-in, the agent laughed when we told him this.

I'm surprised an airline would allow that to happen, or maybe I'm just too used to our policy. Anyone 12 or under must be accompanied by someone 18 or older.

We accept UMNRs 5-7 on non-stop/direct flights only, and 8-12 on connections. No last flights of the night or flights departing between 9pm - 5am. As per the overnight discussion, we require two hotel rooms and two airline employees present. And unfortunately, yes, the employees must be awake all night - makes it tough when this happens after the end of a long shift! Definitely not a duty I ever volunteered for.
 
Baron52ta
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 1:52 am

RE: Unaccompanied Minor Drama

Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:22 pm

I have seen some crazy sits before, BMA had UM's and no one at the gate in JER once when I was a ramper so office asked me to sit with the UMs until gate staff got free, I guess baby sitting is better than shelping bags some time though.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos