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speedbird27
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:40 am

This is terrible news. I was a regular BA 'skyflyer' from the mid 80's to the early 90's. The service was excellent. I was always seated next to women. I was never left unaccompanied in the airports and was watched over during the flight. There was a special lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 for UM's with comic books, cartoons etc. We always boarded before anyone else. We were given special 'goodie bags' and the cabin crew were wonderful. One time me and another girl were even put in Club World.
In 1992 after American bought the Heathrow routes from TWA my parents switched me to American. I was 10 at the time. On American they would always put me in First Class about 30 minutes before arrival at JFK so that I would be one of the first to deplane. The flight attendants would give me first class Godiva chocolates and amenity bags as a treat! The gate agents at JFK would know and remember me on a first name basis!
I live in the UK, but most of my family are in the USA and there is no way I would have been able to see my father and other family members as often as I did without being able to travel as an UM.
As an adult I still have a strong affection and loyalty towards BA and AA based on my experiences as a child.
For BA to stop accepting UM's is a travesty. Surely if cost were an issue they could simply increase the fees.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:42 am

This is the next thing were a shortsighted decision will move pax away from legacy airlines. A decision applauded here on A.net were half of the posters would do away with kids flying anyway.

Children have to travel, many people can not afford to travel with them, either do not have the time or the money. Divorced parents, families distributed over continents or several of them, and so on.
The minimum age for traveling alone should coincide with the age when children start in school. Parents have to trust the system for whole days anyway, have to trust school bus drivers, teachers, other school staff. In every area were children are, some danger lurks, in the family, neighbourhood, at home with the nanny, at the daycare, at the church, in the school bus, traveling from home to school, in school, at sporting events, at the sport club and so on. Everywhere there is an example of something happening to a child. What is so different with an airplane? I rather assume that a child aboard an airplane is at one of the safer places available. The protocol around UM is very safe, well proven and usually only brakes down when protocol is not followed.

Their will be some western airlines following BAs example, perhaps few, perhaps many. But I am sure that airlines like the ME3 or TK will not follow. They seem to have a different philosophy around family and children than some, not all of the western airlines. They see children and families less as a distraction, but rather as an opportunity. I still have fond memories about the airlines I flew as first an UM and than as an older child.

If western airlines cut out the UM programs it will feed their competition over time.

[Edited 2016-02-27 03:52:28]
 
G-CIVP
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:45 am

I really don't know what all the fuss is about. BA have made a commercial decision, end of. It will inconvenience some but there are bigger bucks with premium passengers. Get over it.
 
PanHAM
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:53 am

The Little frequent Flyers of today are the customers of tomorrow. I cannot imagoine that LH, which has a Long Tradition of flying UMs, could follow BA in such a stupid move. AFAIK LH has a Lounge for UMs at FRA and possibly also at MUC, right next to the disabled People Lounge, another customer circle that needs and gets special attntion.

Of course it costs additional Money, but especially the carriage of UMs is a wise Investment into the future. . .
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JetBuddy
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:53 am

I flew as a UM on SK and BU dozens of times when I was little, from about 5-10 years old. But I guess the world has changed since then. At least the population has.

Quoting penguins (Reply 39):
Are you kidding me? I flew SAS at sub-12 and had a lovely time being doted on by lovely nordic stewardesses. A UM service is important because it gives children opportunities to see friends and family even if their parents are to busy to accompany them. I really felt independent when I flew "alone" for the first time.

  
 
mjoelnir
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:56 am

Quoting G-CIVP (Reply 52):
I really don't know what all the fuss is about. BA have made a commercial decision, end of. It will inconvenience some but there are bigger bucks with premium passengers. Get over it.

I still have to see the good sized airline living on premium passengers only.
 
pa747sp
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:57 am

This is interesting, given that BA always believed that investing in the UM service built brand loyalty from an early age.
Nothing seems as good since the VC10.
 
rbavfan
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:07 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 25):
11 year olds carried that kind of money in 1967?

My relatives kids would have. They were the rich side of the family. Would not be a surprise at all.
 
GDB
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:29 pm

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, BA had 'Aunties' for UM's. Essentially experienced, usually older Cabin Crew with a responsibility for looking after these pax, maybe you encountered them speedbird27?
Looking after at the airport and the flight.

I don't know when we stopped doing that but I remember we used to and got plaudits for it.
If you are not going resource looking after UM's properly, best not to take them at all. For reasons that a quick scan of the news recently will make obvious.
 
vv701
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:31 pm

Quoting UALWN (Reply 43):
Parents entrust their children all the time to teachers, camp monitors, swimming teachers, school bus drivers, doctors and nurses, babysitters, etc. How are FA's different?

None of these professions is responsible for the moral protection of a minor seated or in close proximity to an unknown adult.

Teachers' prime responsibility is looking after the well being of the children in an environment where there are no other adults, FAs are expected to take responsibility for the welfare of an unaccompanied minor in what is basically an adult environment with no knowledge of the background of any of the adult passengers.

Camp monitors' prime responsibility is monitoring the well being of the children in the camp. FAs have responsibilities for around 50 passengers well being and are unable to continuously monitor the well being of individual passengers.

Swimming teachers prime responsibility is their pupils. Additionally, at least in the UK, it is required that there will be a life guard present in a position where he or she has an overview of the well being of all in the pool. The furniture in an airliner makes this requirement impossible.

A school bus driver is the only adult present on a school bus. Here in the UK he or she will have been cleared to be responsible for the children in his or her bus. Unlike an FA he or she will not have to protect any child from molestation by any other adult on his or her bus

Doctors and nurses unlike FA's, see their customers one at a time. They have no need to protect a child from the unwanted attention of an unknown adult sitting next to an unaccompanied minor. Here in the UK any child or adult is allowed to nominate an accompanying adult for their protection while otherwise alone with a doctor or nurse. The parents of an unaccompanied minor clearly cannot make such a nomination as the child would not then be unaccompanied.

Babysitters are selected by the parents or the relatives of the child. FAs have no detailed knowledge of an adult who might be sitting next to an unaccompanied minor but will be expected to take total responsibility for that child's protection.

For further background as to why some of the above is necessary, re-read my Reply 30

Finally it is great to hear of so many A-netters who have had good experiences as a UM. But in today's litigious society a single bad experience would likely be a disaster for the airline from both a legal and public relations perspective.
 
ltbewr
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:36 pm

Let me put in some other possible factors for this decision. UM's even when pay the full fare + special fees are a security and service nightmare that may not be worth it. There could also be, in particular as to international flights, serious legal and human rights issues.

You have to be careful who to sit the child next to, as can't screen out sex offenders or molesters, those that are mentally ill or drunks or on drugs.

Fares are based down to the seat, no longer can one pay a cheap fare and get a preferred seat like on an aisle or near the FA's or the bulkheads. Already many families are facing issues getting the most affordable seats together, rearrangements on crowded flights are already a headache without adding the need to have special seating arrangements for UM's.

Many adults don't want to have the responsibility of being a babysitter or watching out for a UM sitting next to them.

Some UM's may have mental or physical health problems that may require special attention.

UM's are a nightmare of responsibility if a mx or weather delay or stop that causes a need to change planes, stay overnight, possibly as to BA in countries with serious human rights issues as to children.

Despite Conventions as to Child abductions and trafficking, UM's can be putting the airline at risk of unintentionally participating in parental child abductions and custody disputes, sex trafficking, as well as children sent to countries that are not parties to the conventions so may not be properly protected by law.
.
BA services a number of countries with issues such as child brides, genital mutilation of women, where children may be exposed to war zones or anti-Western cultures. With the terrible problems in the ME by IS/Densh, mass migrations from Syria and other places in the world with their religious, social and political implications, fears of being stuck with the costs of returning those refused entry or children sent by parents to get Asylum in the UK, for sure BA has no desire to get involved with the costs or hassles of such issues.
 
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:50 pm

Quoting pa747sp (Reply 56):
This is interesting, given that BA always believed that investing in the UM service built brand loyalty from an early age.

This is a very important point. A lot of UMs travel multiple times, and usually with the same airline. When a kid travels alone, being taken care of by crew and employees, experiencing new things.. it's like an adventure for them. Lot's of impressions. That little BA toy you bring home with you is a memory, and it builds the brand loyality forever. It sounds cynical, but it's the truth.

If they're worried about liabilities, they could change the liabilities/insurance documents the parents would have to sign before sending their kids off.

In my experience crew loves taking care of little kids flying alone, as long as they're not brats of course.

I think BA made a huge mistake here.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:01 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 59):
Quoting ltbewr (Reply 60):

The urban myth of the strange adult. Children are most in danger from the persons responsible for them, known to the children in a known environment.
You will find enough examples in families, schools, churches, with nannies, daycare and so on, the usual scenario the caregiver getting the child alone.

I dare you to find examples of the UM molested by the stranger male on an airplane doing a commercial flight. I remember a teenager, not UM, sleeping being stroked by a male, the male arrested.

You can always build a hypothetical bogymen and than build a bad decision on it. Where has this service and security nightmare been the last 70 years while flying UM around the globe?

If you start on child brides, genital mutilation, ISIS and so on, you have left the UM age behind you.

All the other "nightmares" like children should not travel because of custody disputes is a problem of authorities and careful check of travel documents. No other group of travelers are under a similar scrutiny at both ends of travel. There is a far bigger chance of children traveling with an adult being connected to a custody dispute.

[Edited 2016-02-27 05:04:36]

[Edited 2016-02-27 05:05:36]
 
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:47 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 60):
Despite Conventions as to Child abductions and trafficking, UM's can be putting the airline at risk of unintentionally participating in parental child abductions and custody disputes, sex trafficking, as well as children sent to countries that are not parties to the conventions so may not be properly protected by law.
.
BA services a number of countries with issues such as child brides, genital mutilation of women, where children may be exposed to war zones or anti-Western cultures. With the terrible problems in the ME by IS/Densh, mass migrations from Syria and other places in the world with their religious, social and political implications, fears of being stuck with the costs of returning those refused entry or children sent by parents to get Asylum in the UK, for sure BA has no desire to get involved with the costs or hassles of such issues.

Sadly this is the kind of world we live in, not the world of decades ago when you had to have means to afford an airline ticket. It was a form of self-screening. We also have social media ready to blast news of any incident around the world instantly. I'm not happy to see airlines deciding to end UM programs, but I'm not surprised.
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airbazar
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:12 pm

Quoting a380787 (Reply 35):
The whole point of UM was never supposed to be a profit driver - it's a customer friendly gesture at slightly higher costs / lower revenue in order to win their continued loyalty and future business.

That might have been true back in the day when airlines were government owned but today every service has to be have a financial benefit to the airline.

Quoting scbriml (Reply 47):

IMHO, it isn't and saying so is an over-reaction. As explained up-thread, the liability issues and requirements foisted on the airline by the authorities are the drivers behind the decision.

Fair enough. It's no coincidence that LCC's don't allow it either. If that's the path BA wants to follow that's their prerogative but some people still like to believe BA is a little better than the likes of FR.


Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 51):
Their will be some western airlines following BAs example, perhaps few, perhaps many. But I am sure that airlines like the ME3 or TK will not follow.

I would be shocked if EK is not already working on a marketing strategy to get back at BA. In the past when SRB was more involved with VS we would have seen him do the same, probably.

Quoting VV701 (Reply 59):
None of these professions is responsible for the moral protection of a minor seated or in close proximity to an unknown adult.

The helicopter parent society is getting out of control, especially in the U.S.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 62):
The urban myth of the strange adult. Children are most in danger from the persons responsible for them, known to the children in a known environment.

  
Actually it's not an urban myth, it's more of a suburban myth. People who live in urban areas are accustomed and ok with kids mingling with strange adults. Kids in Boston and I'm assuming other major cities, take public transportation to school every day, rather than yellow school buses.
 
PanHAM
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:17 pm

Reading some of these contributions here I really wonder how I and my peer Group made it through the 50s, growing up in these hard times. In summer vacations, I took the Train from northern Germany, having to Change at Bremen and Duesseldorf to see my Grandma and stay with her for the Duration, going back by Train as well, unaccompanied and without a "Bundesbahn Auntie". I was ten when I did hat the first time That improved my travel skills and made me fit for the adult world.

I have wtched TV featres about UMs who travel to see a divorced parent every fortnight and all where smart and intelligent Kids who could take care of themselves. No caring parent would send his/her child on a voyage without the confidence that the kid can manage. The UK should have taken care of the Jimmy Savilles of this world in the 70s and before as well as afterwards. Cutting out a Service that is popular, yields additional Revenue and builds up brand loyalty on top is the wrong way.

After all, there are too many lawyers in this world.
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csavel
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:29 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
I can't tell you how many times as a child I traveled as a UM to spend school vacation with my grandparents. It's a great service and in my experience the people in charge are outstanding. We should all be so lucky to get that level of service from every airline employee.

Yep back in the days of free-range parenting. Not only did I fly often as a child to visit the grandparents, other than an F/A checking up on me once or twice, I really dont remember any special services, nobody to meet me to make sure I met gramma and grandpa, none of that. This was back in the 70s. But in the 70s in crime-ridden New York I was taking the subway by myself at 10 years old.
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:08 pm

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 40):
The change is simple. Minors should be accompanied by an adult

Sadly, that is what it is coming to.  
Quoting UALWN (Reply 43):
How are FA's different?

I'm required to pick up my child within 30 minutes for the teacher or other caregivers you noted when they call.

Quoting a380787 (Reply 48):
, but in this day and age of social media, anything can blow up into a liability, to a point where UM isn't any worse than transporting someone with disability or allergies or strong religious convictions

Children are an easy lawsuit. The insurance will cost more.

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mjoelnir
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:12 pm

Quoting csavel (Reply 66):
Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
I can't tell you how many times as a child I traveled as a UM to spend school vacation with my grandparents. It's a great service and in my experience the people in charge are outstanding. We should all be so lucky to get that level of service from every airline employee.

Yep back in the days of free-range parenting. Not only did I fly often as a child to visit the grandparents, other than an F/A checking up on me once or twice, I really dont remember any special services, nobody to meet me to make sure I met gramma and grandpa, none of that. This was back in the 70s. But in the 70s in crime-ridden New York I was taking the subway by myself at 10 years old.

I started flying as an UM when I was 6 in 1959. HAM-CPH with SAS, on a Convair 440 and CPH-BGO-RKF with Flugfélag Íslands, on a DC6. From HAM i was the only UM and from CPH we were 6 with me being the youngest. I had my bag with passport and papers hanging from my neck, from SAS I got a small logbook to record my flights and on Icelandair a "captains cap" and an Icelandair needle to put on my jacket. Everybody being very friendly I had great time.

Still today I find the Nordic airlines both children and family friendly.
 
dfwagt
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:02 pm

Having been in the airline business for close to 20 years now and having traveled numerous time as a UM during the 80's and 90's, I can say that I am surprised more carriers haven't done away with this program. UM's now can be quite a handful. Mostly with attitudes. Of course that's not the child's fault, that goes back to bad parenting. I can recall quite a few years ago that I had a UM that refused to board the connecting flight and attempted to run off. We even had to get the police involved with her. Upon calling the parents, it was quite apparent where the problems come from.
 
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OA260
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:17 pm

Quoting jporterfi (Reply 12):
I have to disagree about putting a sub-12 year old on a flight alone. When I was 11, I took several cross-country and shorter flights on my own to visit family (among them, LAX-ATL and ATL-EWR). I'll bet I was the only kid my age on those flights who knew and cared about the type of aircraft operating the flight!

Me too between LHR-ATH on BA and OA. Was great and exciting as a kid flying UMNR. At ATH old Hellinikon Airport OA took you into the staff room and gave you drinks and food so was a behind the scenes experience too. Also got a few flight deck visits during the flights.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
Different world. Too much liability. If I ran an airline, I'd likely ban it too.

Sadly very true. There becomes a point where it is a fine line between offering a service and it being too much hassle than its worth.
 
vv701
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:29 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 62):
Children are most in danger from the persons responsible for them, known to the children in a known environment.

Please read Reply 30. None of the three events described involve 'persons responsible' for any of the sexually molested children. Note here that in the case of the three convicted men - again see Rely 30 - the Mirror newspaper repors that 1.400 children were involved with their paedophile ring over a 16 year period:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...d-abuse-scandal-paedophile-4113152

Other media have reported slightly higher numbers.

Under current circumstances I wonder how many UK parents would even consider allowing their child to travel as an UM.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:42 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 71):

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 62):
Children are most in danger from the persons responsible for them, known to the children in a known environment.

Please read Reply 30. None of the three events described involve 'persons responsible' for any of the sexually molested children. Note here that in the case of the three convicted men - again see Rely 30 - the Mirror newspaper repors that 1.400 children were involved with their paedophile ring over a 16 year period:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...d-abuse-scandal-paedophile-4113152

Other media have reported slightly higher numbers.

Under current circumstances I wonder how many UK parents would even consider allowing their child to travel as an UM.

Quote:

"Social worker chiefs, police and council bosses ignored the plight of child victims as 1,400 young victims as young as 11 were targeted"

I would very much say that for the children responsible people were involved,

And again if you would look at what is called child abuse in that article, involves mainly children between the age of 12 and 18, the age range allowed to travel unaccompanied, without the classical service, on BA flights still.

If you can now talk about only one case that an unaccompanied minor on board a commercial airplane was molested, bring it on. I stand by my opinion that for a child on a commercial airliner, in the care of the airline staff, is one of the safer places to be.

[Edited 2016-02-27 09:46:10]

[Edited 2016-02-27 09:50:29]

[Edited 2016-02-27 09:52:18]
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:57 pm

Quoting UALWN (Reply 43):

While I understand the liability concerns, given that the modern parent is a helicopter, compared to previous generations, the fact remains that there is a place for UM.

Should airlines insist that pre school kids (whopose the highest liability) be accompanied by an adult. YES. Should airlines raise the fee for UM services. YES. Should they insist that this should only be allowed for flights where there is no transfer. YES, given al the things that can go wrong if kids need to be transferred, especially through third countries.

But the fact remains that in immigrant families there isn't always an adult who can accompany a minor. Typically the kid is sent to the grand parents or an aunt for the summer. The parents then join them and bring them back. The parents cannot spend the whole summer with the kids. I don't see why an 11 y/o is a huge liability, and a 14 y/o isn't.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 62):

With all the paranoia that I see here I suggest that kids shouldn't be allowed to go to school, unless a parent is present. In fact I will argue that schools are more dangerous than a 5 hour nonstop flight. Look at all the sexual predators who roam around many schools!

Kids shouldn't be allowed onto school buses either, unless an adult is present.

Because all the risks involved with UMs on NONSTOP flights, are also present in the schools and on school buses, and I will argue that the risks are HIGHER in the latter situations.

But BA can do what it wants. Parents will simply switch airlines.
 
bjorn14
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:27 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 65):

I think I was 21 before I flew with anyone I knew prior. I loved flying UM it made me feel grown up ordering that 7Up from the stewardess. It helped that I was always big for my age.
"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
 
gzm
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:02 pm

When I was a gate agent at the former Olympic Airlines from 2003-2009 I handled dozens of those little passengers. We considered them just another small challenge (compared to others) in our shifts. UMs boarded first and I noticed that usually the air hostess, when it was a 737 service, put the child to sit in business class in 1F so that she could keep an eye on him/her. We never charged extra,as Olympic was the national carrier, unlike for example Aegean whose practice was to charge extra to handicapped passengers so that they would go to Olympic. We were never annoyed by the little "darlings" even when they occasionally played football in the staff room.I even have a small collection of UM "envelopes". But to get back to the point, it is my suspicion that something could have gone terribly wrong in the handling of UMs at BA (which is a delicate matter,perhaps repeatedly) which explains their decision.
 
SCQ83
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:07 pm

Quoting gzm (Reply 75):
I even have a small collection of UM "envelopes".

??? Fakelaki for gate agents?
 
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:10 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 65):
I really wonder how I and my peer Group made it through the 50s

In the 1950s you didn't have countless people sitting on the train with devices the size of a cigarette pack that could make video of everything going on and then broadcast it all around the world so other people who could use their own similar devices and see how neglectful your parents were for putting you on a train all by yourself as a ready victim of perverts, kidnappers and murderers.

Parents today are endlessly barraged by torrents of stories of all the worst case scenarios of things that can happen to their kids, readily served up by the media who gets so many clicks and ad views because people are attracted to the worst case scenario.

I recall hearing my grandparents criticizing my parents for some things they did (or did not do) with respect to raising me and my brothers. I could only imagine how much worse the criticism would be if they had access to 24/7 cable TV news and the Internet.

Let's face it, the older generations always have criticism of the current generation of parents.

For example:

Quoting guyanam (Reply 73):
the modern parent is a helicopter, compared to previous generations

And in the era some here recall so fondly, my grandmother criticized my mom for daring to work four hours a day outside the home. She also told my mom that feeding us skimmed milk rather than whole milk would cause us to have deformed bones. Thank god my grandmother didn't hear about rapist priests, I think that would have killed her on the spot.

Quoting guyanam (Reply 73):

But the fact remains that in immigrant families there isn't always an adult who can accompany a minor. Typically the kid is sent to the grand parents or an aunt for the summer. The parents then join them and bring them back. The parents cannot spend the whole summer with the kids.

And why is that BA's problem?

They've done the cost/benefit analysis and they've decided it's not in their interest to offer the service.

Parents will have to make alternate arrangements.
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UALWN
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:57 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 59):
None of these professions is responsible for the moral protection of a minor seated or in close proximity to an unknown adult.

Yet typically it's not the unknown adults that prey on kids but rather their teachers, priests and close family members.

I'm not sure to which extend an FA is responsible for the "moral protection" of an UM. Certainly, for her physical protection, just like a school-bus chaperone is.
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OA260
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:04 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 76):
??? Fakelaki for gate agents?

     
 
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LTU932
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:22 pm

I'm noticing how comparatively liberal many countries are in terms of UMs. In Costa Rica, parents need to be authorised by PANI, child protection services, to take the kid abroad, and for UMs or children travelling with another adult or one of the parents, they also need the consent of the legal guardians as well as PANI authorisation IIRC. This is valid for kids who are citizens, or have a permanent/long term residence in the country. Otherwise, you could be denied leaving the country and in the worst case, face child abduction charges.

In a nutshell, it's a very bureaucratic process and near impossible to allow a child to fly as UM, not because of the airline, but because of local law. And it's not just Costa Rica, it's also Panama and also e.g. the Dominican Republic who apply these kind of strict regulations, with local differences of course. In Europe, it's pretty much very liberal because you don't need this kind of authorisation at all, unless there's a custody issue ongoing and the necessary court order issued.

As for me, I never flew as UM. My first flight alone was as an adult.
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guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:05 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 77):

As I said BA, can do as they wish. All those British people in Australia, Indians in the UK, and other immigrants, will simply select another airline.

Quoting UALWN (Reply 78):

Problem solved. No child should attend school, without a parent present. No child should be allowed into a Catholic church, surely a more dangerous place, unless their parents are present. Because all of these places are more dangerous than a non stop flight from point A to point B.
 
IPFreely
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:19 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 73):
With all the paranoia that I see here I suggest that kids shouldn't be allowed to go to school, unless a parent is present. In fact I will argue that schools are more dangerous than a 5 hour nonstop flight. Look at all the

Schools and school buses are in the babysitting business. Airlines are not.

If you think nonstop flights are somehow safe for UM you haven't flow a lot. You've certainly never been on a flight that was diverted to another destination. If an airline flight diverts and a UM has to be rebooked for a flight to their final destination the next morning what do you expect the airline to do? You'd be the first to complain if they handed a hotel voucher to a 10 year old, pointed him toward baggage claim, and said get yourself back through security tomorrow. Should they have a fully staffed kid's overnight camp open 24/7 in every airport?

All unaccompanied minors mean to airlines is a risk of liability and bad PR. BA made a very sensible decision. I expect many other airlines -- who were probably waiting for someone else to go first -- will soon be making the same announcement.
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:35 pm

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 82):

BA can do as it wishes. When it loses business as people shift to other airlines then that is their loss. On VFR heavy routes that WILL impact them.


Parents will sometimes need to send their kids unaccompanied, and aren't going to stop because BA refuses them.

So argue as much as you want because you are TOO INSENSITIVE to understand why this is necessary! Doesn't impact you so you don't care!
 
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Revelation
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:59 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 81):
All those British people in Australia, Indians in the UK, and other immigrants, will simply select another airline.

Hopefully those airlines will never experience the trauma of a missing UMNR kid or a sexually assaulted kid because if/when they do there will be hell to pay.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
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Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:05 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 84):

Kids should remain at home, unless with their parent. That is the best line of action. At no point should a 10 y.o be any where unless with at least one of their parents.
 
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Revelation
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:29 am

Quoting guyanam (Reply 85):
Kids should remain at home, unless with their parent. That is the best line of action. At no point should a 10 y.o be any where unless with at least one of their parents.

That certainly does remove the "unaccompanied" factor.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
UALWN
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:40 am

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 82):
Schools and school buses are in the babysitting business. Airlines are not.

IKEA is not in the babysitting business, yet they do have an area where one can leave the kids while shopping. Airlines have accepted UM for ages, and hence have made babysitting part of their business, just like IKEA.
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Viscount724
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:12 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 77):
They've done the cost/benefit analysis and they've decided it's not in their interest to offer the service.

Just like some airlines have decided that they will no longer carry pets as checked baggage. For example DL excerpt from their website:

Effective March 1, 2016 Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in aircraft cabins. Delta will also accept shipment of pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo.
 
ericm2031
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:31 am

Quoting Alasizon (Reply 5):

I probably see about 30 UMs a day in PHX just on the AA Eagle side of the house. I would imagine BA carries less given the more INTL nature of their business but this seems like a bad idea that will cost them customers

I have seen the number on AA go up over the years. With DL restrictive on connections for very young ones and UA restrictive for ALL connections, AA is the least restrictive. I actually didn't realize til now when I looked up DL's policy, that when they do accept connections, it can be to AF/KL as well. I've never heard of that with any other carriers
 
Andy33
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:10 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 88):
Just like some airlines have decided that they will no longer carry pets as checked baggage. For example DL excerpt from their website:

Effective March 1, 2016 Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in aircraft cabins. Delta will also accept shipment of pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo.

And for an airline based in the USA that makes sense, because they (and their competitors) have had terrible press over the years as animals have died due to excessive heat or excessive cold while waiting to be loaded or unloaded, usually at hubs.

BA have taken entirely the opposite view for years and do not allow animals (except registered service animals) into the cabin at all, but do carry animals in the hold. As it is very rarely extremely hot or extremely cold at BA hubs, this works for them. Have they suffered for not allowing pets in the cabin? Obviously not. For every person who is outraged about not having their pet with them in the cabin, there are several more who are pleased not to have to sit near other people's pets, and an even larger number who simply don't care either way.

You might find people feel the same about unaccompanied children - though they would probably draw the line at putting them in the hold.
 
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barney captain
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:39 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 20):
For all the people complaining about the change, remember that the next time you tweet out your awful experience to 2000 of your closest friends.

^^^^^THIS^^^^
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MD11Engineer
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:10 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):
I get that people's circumstances differ, but IMO, you sorta have to have a bit of a screw loose to put a sub-12yr-old on a plane in the care of abject strangers, anyway.
Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
Right because hiring a 14yo babysitter to take care of your infant child is so much better. Are you serious?
I can't tell you how many times as a child I traveled as a UM to spend school vacation with my grandparents. It's a great service and in my experience the people in charge are outstanding. We should all be so lucky to get that level of service from every airline employee.

Same for me. I travelled a lot with PanAm's inner German fleet from West Berlin to FRA to visit my grandparents back in the 1970s, when I was between 7 and 12 years old. And if PanAm would still exist today, I'd probably be working for them. PanAm usually placed all the UMs in one row together, close to the galley, so that the cabin crew could keep an eye on them.

Later, when I worked in Pax handling for LH in TXL, I often had to deal with UMs. I would receive them from the parents and bring them through the gate to the aircraft, where they would be handed over to the cabin crew. They were easily recognisable by the yellow document pouches they wore around their necks.
When they arrived, I similarly would receive them from the cabin crew, get them through passport control and wait for the persons picking them up. These persons would have to identify themselves with their government ID cards or passports. If a pick up did not turn up (happened rarely), the children would stay overnight in a hotel, accompanied by a volunteer from our female staff (never a man due to liability reasons). Mostly those volunteers were either the motherly or the "big sister" type.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Andy33
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:41 am

Another issue which hasn't been discussed is whether BA have experienced a fall in the numbers of people wanting to use the service. I don't know the answer. though some insiders obviously will.
There must be a level below which it is uneconomic to provide the UM service, with the need for staff and rooms put aside for the UMs to wait in until boarding time.
BA is also steadily outsourcing the above-the-wing operations at its spoke airports, at places where they had been direct employees before.
This probably makes management more aware of the cost of the UM service, since they have to pay handling contractors to escort and safeguard the children where previously it would have been lost in the general overhead of the station.
 
B777LRF
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:53 am

I'm from a place where we load our toddlers up in a pram, pack them nice and warm, then leave them outside on the street for a few hours nap time. Also during winter in sub-zero temperaturs; babies sleep so much better in fresh, cold, air. Nobody ever gets abducted, but there's always a handful of tourists every year who call the cops when they see a loaded pram parked outside a cafe. When they get a bit older we send them off to a forest kindergarten, where they are allowed to roam more or less free, crawl up trees, get really, really dirty and generally have a blast. There might be a freely accessible lake within a hundred meters of where they are playing, which is an excellent opportunity to teach them about responsibility and boundaries you just don't cross, ever. Nobody's ever drowned, not even a little bit. When they are deemed to be ready for it, they are shown a knife and taught that it is nothing but a tool, then set about making spears, fishing rods, bows and arrows etc. Nobody's ever been seriously injured. In fact, I saw a program about such a kindergarten on TV and the manager said he'd only once in 17 years had to take a kid to hospital: The little girl had been run over by her mum in the carpark.

Obviously, in this kind of environment, sending the sprogs off as UMs is nothing anyone would even think of batting an eyelid at.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:32 am

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 94):
I'm from a place where we load our toddlers up in a pram, pack them nice and warm, then leave them outside on the street for a few hours nap time. Also during winter in sub-zero temperaturs; babies sleep so much better in fresh, cold, air. Nobody ever gets abducted, but there's always a handful of tourists every year who call the cops when they see a loaded pram parked outside a cafe. When they get a bit older we send them off to a forest kindergarten, where they are allowed to roam more or less free, crawl up trees, get really, really dirty and generally have a blast. There might be a freely accessible lake within a hundred meters of where they are playing, which is an excellent opportunity to teach them about responsibility and boundaries you just don't cross, ever. Nobody's ever drowned, not even a little bit. When they are deemed to be ready for it, they are shown a knife and taught that it is nothing but a tool, then set about making spears, fishing rods, bows and arrows etc. Nobody's ever been seriously injured. In fact, I saw a program about such a kindergarten on TV and the manager said he'd only once in 17 years had to take a kid to hospital: The little girl had been run over by her mum in the carpark.

This is how I grew up.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
vv701
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:00 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 72):

If you can now talk about only one case that an unaccompanied minor on board a commercial airplane was molested, bring it on.

Only one? How about ten in the USA alone? Check it out. Read this article from the 'SF Weekly Newsletter' titled 'Predators are free to move about the cabin':

http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco...bout-the-cabin/Content?oid=2173389

Here is an extract:


'A cursory search in Lexis Nexis, a news search engine, turns up 10 instances of child molestation cases aboard airplanes from the past couple of decades, though there have almost certainly been more. It's likely that many other cases did not make the news, or were never reported by the children.'


Please note in particular the words '. . . although there have almost certainly been more.' in the above quote. So one? No. Ten? Almost certainly more, probably a lot more.

Here on a-net there is a lot of logical talk on this subject. But who thinks entirely logically when it comes to the welfare of their children? And is it acceptable that, amongst the hundreds of thousands of children that have travelled happily on an UM flight, at least ten have been scared for life? Clearly there is some logical thinking at BA. In the current climate they are being careful not to go down the same route previously trodden by, according to this article, both CO and UA possibly amongst others.

The problem is clear. However unlikely child molestation on an aircraft may be, it clearly happens. And as has been proved in the three current newsworthy stories here in the UK and is mentioned in the extract above about the USA, many molested children never speak of their experience at least at the time. Yet it may have scared them for life if some of the victim interviews on British TV during the last week are to be believed.

I doubt that you will be prepared to take the same relaxed attitude to this problem once you have read the article from the 'SF Weekly Newsletter' including:


'In a majority of the instances, a man switched seats to be next to a child traveling alone. Also, a significant number of the reported molestations occurred on evening flights, when the victim and any potential witnesses were asleep. Several children reported that when the touching began, it seemed accidental or even well intentioned, and only later crossed the line.'


So this is reported to have happened not just in ONE, but in the MAJORITY of cases. And it clearly shows planned intent.
 
bjorn14
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:14 pm

When do have to pay the UM fee? 2 to 12 years? 5 to 17 years? etc.?
"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
 
IPFreely
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:45 pm

Quoting UALWN (Reply 87):
IKEA is not in the babysitting business, yet they do have an area where one can leave the kids while shopping. Airlines have accepted UM for ages, and hence have made babysitting part of their business, just like IKEA.

BA has decided to leave the babysitting business. Guess what? They can do that. Read this thread:
"But They Let Me Last Time".., (by zrs70 Feb 20 2016 in Aviation Polls)

Quoting VV701 (Reply 96):
Only one? How about ten in the USA alone? Check it out. Read this article from the 'SF Weekly Newsletter' titled 'Predators are free to move about the cabin':

It's not just protecting kids from potential predators that airlines have to worry about. They also have to worry about parents who will falsely claim abuse or negligence and threaten to sue in hope of getting a cash settlement. Even if the airline wins the case, defending it costs them a lot of money and bad PR. BA has clearly decided they will not be exposed to this anymore. Like I wrote earlier I expect many other airlines will soon make the same announcement.
 
vv701
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:47 pm

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 97):
When do have to pay the UM fee?

When the person booking the flight chooses to use the service.

According to their web site BA ceased taking bookings for their former Skyflyer Solo service on 24 February. However children aged twelve and under sixteen can continue to fly with BA unaccompanied. Since 24 February children aged under 12 can only be booked to fly with BA if accompanied by someone aged 16+.

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