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CrimsonNL
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BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:21 pm

An interesting article by the Independent, which claims that BA will discontinue their Unaccompanied Minors (UM) "Service" I'm sure it will be a major inconvenience for a lot of people and I think it's a rather strange move. No other legacy carrier I can think of does not accept UMs (Although some do have some restrictions on the service). It doesn't mention a date when the acceptance of new UM bookings will end.

Children under 12 must now be accompanied by an adult, where "children" age 12-18 can still travel alone. I'd think they would then be treated as a meet-and-assist (MAAS) passenger..

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/...-in-bid-to-cut-costs-a6895931.html

Martijn
 
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SuseJ772
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:30 pm

While I think the UM program is great. This also doesn't surprise me. There seems to be little upside to UM. Yeah, it some revenue. But sooner or later the liability is going to far outweigh the revenue.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:35 pm

Can't blame them. I doubt the number is all that high anyway.

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.
 
Gazdon121
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:37 pm

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):

I agree totally with you
 
FWAERJ
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:40 pm

Here in the US, G4 has had a policy for eons that you have to be 14 or older to travel alone.

Of course, G4 is a US ULCC while BA is a European full-service airline, but BA is hardly the first with such a policy.
 
alasizon
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:08 pm

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.
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:31 pm

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):

Given the UK's high migrant population, which includes both non British living in the UK, and Britons living outside of the UK, I will be surprised if the UM program is hardly used.

In fact many immigrants send their kids (usually 5 and over) back to the "homeland" to bond with their relatives during the summer holidays. Also helps with baby sitting, assuming that there is a deeper family network in the homeland than there is where the migrant resides.

These folks will shift to another carrier, using this service, and so BA loses business.

I can see if it was restricted to school aged kids, as I do agree that the liability for non potty trained toddlers, who will spend most of the flight either crying for mummy, or getting into mischief, is too high.

Quoting Alasizon (Reply 5):

Actually the international orientation means more VFR (BOTH directions) which means heavy UM use, especially in the summer holidays. What is likely is that the kid might be sent ahead, using the program, and then the parents (who cannot spend the entire summer on vacation) then go to collect them).

Go to JFK and the early summer flights to the Caribbean look like a daycare outing with 10 + UM boarding a flight. I can well imagine that flights from SYD to LON, and from the UK to South Asia will look like that.
 
airbazar
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:36 pm

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.

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.
 
D L X
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:07 pm

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.

I flew by myself many times when I was a kid to see relatives, spending the summer in Alabama to experience life away from the city. It was really enriching, and it would have been exceptionally difficult for my parents to fly with me or *gulp* drive the 12 hours down there and 12 hours back. And with most of my flying on PI, PI, then US, and I guess now AA managed to get a fan for life.

One thing that may set BA apart from airlines in the US is the percentage of flying that is domestic versus international. Isn't it something like 90% of BA flights leave the UK? You're literally taking a kid across borders. I could see them not wanting to participate.

Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
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.

   Agree 100%
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:18 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 9):

Airlines have long ago set up protocols to deal with transferring kids across borders. I have seen what happens at the hand off. Only the authorized adult can pick up, and drop off, and they must have gov't issued ID.
 
SCQ83
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:29 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 6):
Given the UK's high migrant population, which includes both non British living in the UK, and Britons living outside of the UK, I will be surprised if the UM program is hardly used.

Exactly, there are more than 5 million British living abroad, which is the highest percentage in Western Europe.

There is one estimated million living part or full time in Spain (and then add France or Portugal with lower but still reasonable numbers)... in my mind that makes a lot of UM trips (i.e. children visiting grand parents retired in Spain while their parents work in the UK).

Really weird. I wonder if this has more to do with potential lawsuits (sexual harassment and all that kind of stuff). Wasn't BA the airline that didn't seat men next to unrelated children?
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:35 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):

I can imagine that it isn't the most profitable. VFR passengers are very price sensitive, when compared to business travelers, and UMs need more service. Not only tying up ground crews (I have seen them have to wait for a while when the adult doing the pick up arrives late) but also cabin crews. Young kids need special attention, and maybe even an extra flight attendant to keep an eye on them.

And yes, there is the liability, should something happen to a kid. Also problems where the kid doesn't speak English. I can certainly see them refusing to board non school age kids as UM.

Still on certain routes I can see this doing some damage.
 
jporterfi
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:15 pm

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!  
 
anstar
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:23 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 6):

These folks will shift to another carrier, using this service, and so BA loses business.

Or it means they can now sell the same seat at full adult rate without having to provide a stasff member to escort them through thr airport.. seems revenue positive to me.
 
D L X
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:43 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 10):
Airlines have long ago set up protocols to deal with transferring kids across borders.
Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):
Exactly, there are more than 5 million British living abroad, which is the highest percentage in Western Europe.

No doubt, but I imagine that trans-border and other long-haul service adds extra liability.
 
bjorn14
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:09 pm

I believe BA started this to reduce their liability in child trafficking. Sad.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:11 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):
Really weird. I wonder if this has more to do with potential lawsuits (sexual harassment and all that kind of stuff). Wasn't BA the airline that didn't seat men next to unrelated children?

With the child protection laws in the UK these days, transporting unaccompanied minors would be a major headache. Just ask anyone who is involved in any way working with children about the rules and regulations.

As mentioned earlier there is a problem with who you can sit them next to.

In the distant past the UK had a lot of expatriates working in the colonies/commonwealth who sent their children back to the UK to boarding school. These children from an early age were transported around the World by BOAC. Of course at that point BOAC were owned by the state who also employed the people whose children they were transporting.

I can easily see that with all the regulations and no compulsion to offer the service that BA have decided it is no longer a service they wish to provide.
 
RJNUT
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:13 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 9):
I flew by myself many times when I was a kid to see relatives, spending the summer in Alabama to experience life away from the city. It was really enriching, and it would have been exceptionally difficult for my parents to fly with me or *gulp* drive the 12 hours down there and 12 hours back. And with most of my flying on PI, PI, then US, and I guess now AA managed to get a fan for life.

I flew at 11yrs old thru Ohare in 1967 and gave the skycap /attendant $10 to "get lost' so I could go spotting at the observation deck! Connection was BN-NC so lots of territory to cover!
 
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moo
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:29 pm

BA will also see a fairly noticeable drop in their PI insurance premium by dropping this service.
 
airbazar
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Quoting guyanam (Reply 6):

Go to JFK and the early summer flights to the Caribbean look like a daycare outing with 10 + UM boarding a flight. I can well imagine that flights from SYD to LON, and from the UK to South Asia will look like that.

We got sent to Europe to spend the Summer with the grandparents every year. the trip was a blast because there was always a large group of us and often we became friends afterwards  
Quoting guyanam (Reply 10):

Airlines have long ago set up protocols to deal with transferring kids across borders. I have seen what happens at the hand off. Only the authorized adult can pick up, and drop off, and they must have gov't issued ID.

  

Quoting guyanam (Reply 12):
I can imagine that it isn't the most prof

That's why they charge a fee for it, on top of the ticket. It's not cheap, and I'm in no away advocating that airlines should provide this service at a loss. They charge whatever it costs for them to make a profit off of it. What's cheaper, for me to buy a r/t ticket to deliver my kid to Europe, or for me to pay a couple hundred dollars so I don't have to go? It should be another revenue stream like any other.
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:01 pm

Different world. Too much liability. If I ran an airline, I'd likely ban it too.

Flight Attendants are responsible for watching them...and if anything happens...it is a pr disaster.

File this in the same cabinet as "why is my flight cancelled when the weather is good enough to go? Well, last time we taxied for 5 hours we made every newscast in the nation"

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.
 
Aeroflot001
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:05 pm

Quoting RJNUT (Reply 18):
I flew at 11yrs old thru Ohare in 1967 and gave the skycap /attendant $10 to "get lost' so I could go spotting at the observation deck! Connection was BN-NC so lots of territory to cover!

Quite the investment. Adjusted for inflation that would be $70 today!
 
undertheradar
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:07 pm

Down here in the land of Oz, QANTAS and Virgin Australia charge a service fee ($50 domestic flights and $90 international flights) for each UM booking. This fee is to help recuperate the extra costs involved in transporting UMs. But this service is invaluable in a country the size of Oz, especially over the school holiday breaks throughout the year, and the fact that the majority of our population are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Every day of the year there are UMs flying around Oz, or to/from OZ.  

[Edited 2016-02-26 15:28:16]
 
Toulouse
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:13 pm

Quoting anstar (Reply 14):
Or it means they can now sell the same seat at full adult rate without having to provide a stasff member to escort them through thr airport.. seems revenue p

This is not the case, certainly not anyway with the legacy European carriers I use for UM service. Whenever I book my children, once aged over 2, while it's called "child fare" it's the same as I pay (logical in my opinion as they're occupying a seat). Then for UM service you have to pay an EXTRA fee for the UM service.

What about divorced parents living far apart? I'm in thus situation and frequently use the UM service which is a great service and I'm often surprised at how many kids are using said service on my children's flights which during school holidays is usually anything from 10 to 15 UM on their flight! The loss of this service is awful for children in my children's situation. And I don't understand those of you against the UM service. Granted, I waited until my youngest reached 6 before I availed of the UM service and before that I prefered to fly there and fly back with them by the ways which was very costly and time consuming.

I'm happy this evening because tomorrow I'm collecting my sons for their school holidays. Thank you UM service. This time interestingly there using the UM service provided by the French railway network!

Shame if BA is doing away with this.
 
UALWN
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:32 am

When I lived in the US I sent once my son over to Europe to spend a couple of weeks with his grandparents: SFO-ATL-BCN, at age 7. The DL people were outstanding, both at SFO and at BCN. I escorted my son to the plane (a 764) in SFO, and we happened to go through security at the same time as two DL pilots. Noticing my son's UM tag, one of the pilots asked him if he was traveling to ATL, and then he told us that he would be the captain on that flight and that he'd be delighted to have my son visit the cockpit prior to departure, which he did. All in all, he had a blast. But I have to admit I was worried for the next 15 hours, and we never repeated the experience.
 
N1120A
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:01 am

Quoting RJNUT (Reply 18):
I flew at 11yrs old thru Ohare in 1967 and gave the skycap /attendant $10 to "get lost' so I could go spotting at the observation deck!

11 year olds carried that kind of money in 1967?
 
RJNUT
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:04 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 26):
11 year olds carried that kind of money in 1967?

a wee spoiled but I have recovered!
 
Sketty222
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:25 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):
ou 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.

(y)

Quoting guyanam (Reply 8):
This is especially important for cultures where the extended family is important (all cultures, aside from those which are Northern European in orientation).

are you not stereotyping? like northern europeans don't think of extended family as important?

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 17):
As mentioned earlier there is a problem with who you can sit them next to.

In the distant past the UK had a lot of expatriates working in the colonies/commonwealth who sent their children back to the UK to boarding school. These children from an early age were transported around the World by BOAC. Of course at that point BOAC were owned by the state who also employed the people whose children they were transporting.

I can easily see that with all the regulations and no compulsion to offer the service that BA have decided it is no longer a service they wish to provide.

This was a massive issue for BA and it went to court, which is probably from where some of this whole stoppage comes from I reckon.

As an airline I can see how this will be a huge cost saving. the people that still work for the state, that send their kids to boarding school can in fact afford to pay for a nanny to travel with the children who are aged 11 or under and actually the airline is making more money as they're selling another adult ticket as opposed to a $300 service fee per round trip
 
Viscount724
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:36 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 Gazdon121 (Reply 3):
Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):

I agree totally with you
Quoting jporterfi (Reply 13):
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!

Same comment. My very first flight was as a UM at about age 8 or 9. Made several other UM flights before I was 12.
 
LGAviation
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:52 am

As a staunch liberal (in the European sense; not the American), I never thought to say this, but I'd really love to see some sort of regulation here. Not only is this a major inconvenience, it might also tear families apart. I know of children of divorcees that travel between their different homes on a fortnightly basis and cutting this service would mean major difficulties for these. As for my first unaccompanied flight, that would have to be a little after my 12th birthday on a FRA-WDH-CPT flight with SW with no questions asked or documents shown until I attempted to reenter Germany on my back.
 
vv701
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:06 am

.This is currently a sensitive issue in the UK.

This week we have had:


Three men sentenced to a combined total of 79 years in gaol for multiple child abuse including one 35 year sentence (compared to the 55 years served by the UK's longest-serving prisoner)

A Premiership and International football player on trial for grooming and abusing a minor

Publication of a 1,200 page report of Dame Janet Smith's £6.5 million investigation into historic child abuse by TV 'celebrities'.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:37 am

Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
Right because hiring a 14yo babysitter to take care of your infant child is so much better. Are you serious?

Quite serious... as I'd label anyone who'd do that, a f#{king idiot too.  
No inconsistency there.



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.

As stated, I get that people do it. So not really sure what your point is there.

I question their wisdom and possibly their sanity for such, but am under no impression that it isn't (and hasn't long been) done.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:07 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.

You mean like a school bus driver?

We're far too sheltering of children under 12 years old these days. The result is insecure adults later in life.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:14 am

Quoting SuseJ772 (Reply 1):
There seems to be little upside to UM. Yeah, it some revenue. But sooner or later the liability is going to far outweigh the revenue.

Agree. Too much risk of bad PR.

Quoting moo (Reply 19):
BA will also see a fairly noticeable drop in their PI insurance premium by dropping this service.

I bet profit wise this will help.


I like the idea of the service, but the true costs must be high.

Lightsaber
 
guyanam
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:21 am

Quoting Sketty222 (Reply 28):

I wonder if an Englishman sees his aunts as alternate mothers, or maybe merely the sisters of one of his parents. Think of Indian families before you respond to this.

Quoting LGAviation (Reply 30):

Loads of reasons why UM travel is important. Mightn't hurt BA that much on business heavy routes, but might we hurt them on VFR heavy routes.

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 32):

I agree its insane to have a 3 y/o traveling as a UM. Fail to see why the same applies to a 10 y/o, who is probably looking forward to a fun filled vacation with his cousins.

Quoting Sketty222 (Reply 28):

In fact most people who use UM CANNOT afford a nanny to fly with them, and in fact international civil servants are probably a minority of those who use this. It will be largely immigrants, as the poster from Oz explained. A good number of them being Australians of British ancestry sending kids to the UK to spend time with grandma.

Now I can well see limits, such as only being available for nonstop flights, or banning kids who are under school age. Don't see why a 10 y/o is such a huge problem. Of course airlines do have the right to charge the parents the incremental costs that are incurred to transport a UM.
 
a380787
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:22 am

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. Taking it away is rather short sighted - another move driven by the bean counters.

BA could afford a move like this because they can continue to gouge LON pax with no realistic alternatives, but it's a slippery slope when all European legacies copy this move (since many euro legacies have home hub near monopoly to abuse), and further legitimizing the ULCC competition.
 
IPFreely
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:37 am

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 21):
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.

Many of the people complaining about the change are also the reason for the change.

Every time there is an issue with a delay or cancellation that affects an unaccompanied minor, or if there is any complaint whether real or made up, some people go nuts. It seems like every few weeks there is a 100 post thread here on a.net about how some airline "wronged" an unaccompanied minor.

UA "Loses" Unaccompanied Minor En-Route (by N202PA Aug 15 2012 in Civil Aviation)
Unaccompanied Minor Sexually Molested On AA Flight (by ubeema Sep 7 2015 in Civil Aviation)
Children Flying Alone Bumped Off QF Flight (by Flyingroo Apr 11 2007 in Civil Aviation)
Unaccompanied Minor Gets Sent To Wrong Destination (by BWI757 Jun 16 2009 in Civil Aviation)

I can't blame BA for telling people to stick it. Hopefully every other airline will quickly follow suit.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:07 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
You mean like a school bus driver?

Yep.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 32):
We're far too sheltering of children under 12 years old these days.

It's not the kid, I just wouldn't trust (in the competence of) other people.

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 36):
I can't blame BA for telling people to stick it. Hopefully every other airline will quickly follow suit.

  
 
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lightsaber
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:15 am

The liability is getting out of hand. I love this one preschool as the parents could just 'drop in' and participate (required to, but many just dropped in also). Now, every parent beyound one gate must have a background check on file...

Until more business say 'fine, if you make the consequences too high, we won't participate,' the worse it will get.

I suspect we're heading to a world with a $50/hour UM fee.

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. Taking it away is rather short sighted - another move driven by the bean counters.

The issue is the liability. One bad incident and BA would be in the press for months. I agree as to why BA used to do this. But it probably isn't worth it for the liability. Even long term, I do not think there will be a net profit.

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 36):
It seems like every few weeks there is a 100 post thread here on a.net about how some airline "wronged" an unaccompanied minor.

That is why I cannot fault BA.

I personally think this is sad, but needed. Certain... Protections have gone too far.

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 36):
I can't blame BA for telling people to stick it. Hopefully every other airline will quickly follow suit.

The consequences with UM are HUGE. They aren't worth it. If enough airlines say 'no,' then there will be a legal change.

Lightsaber
 
penguins
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:47 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.

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.
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2653
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:00 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 38):

The consequences with UM are HUGE. They aren't worth it. If enough airlines say 'no,' then there will be a legal change.

The change is simple. Minors should be accompanied by an adult -- either a parent or someone their parent entrusts with their care. Parents who expect an airline to babysit their kids on a trip across the country or across an ocean are a few fries short of a happy meal to begin with.
 
coolian2
Posts: 2483
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 3:34 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:11 am

These took freaking ages to organise at Qantas.

The fee was probably a fair representation of the man hours involved.

It sure wasn't a fair representation of what happened when things went awry.

If I ran an airline I wouldn't ban it, but it would be a specialist team and I'd write it off as a cost of doing business.
 
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LAX772LR
Posts: 14133
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RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:13 am

Quoting penguins (Reply 39):
Are you kidding me?

Nope. See below:

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 40):
Parents who expect an airline to babysit their kids on a trip across the country or across an ocean are a few fries short of a happy meal to begin with.

  
 
UALWN
Posts: 2186
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:27 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:39 am

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 40):
Parents who expect an airline to babysit their kids on a trip across the country or across an ocean are a few fries short of a happy meal to begin with.

Yet airlines all over the world do it, charge a small premium for it, and kids love it. I wonder who is a few fries short of a happy meal?  

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?
 
KaiTak747
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:08 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:21 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.

I grew up with divorced parents, my mother living in London and my father living in Hong Kong. From the age of 3 onwards I was travelling UM between those two cities. I really enjoyed the flights, the Cathay staff were lovely and the flights were an adventure.

If it weren't for UM programmes, I would not have been able to split my life between two parents. It really saddens me that so many airlines have discontinued UM services, as it will seriously impact a lot of children who are in the position I was in.
 
Andy33
Posts: 2570
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:50 am

Quoting guyanam (Reply 34):
In fact most people who use UM CANNOT afford a nanny to fly with them, and in fact international civil servants are probably a minority of those who use this. It will be largely immigrants, as the poster from Oz explained. A good number of them being Australians of British ancestry sending kids to the UK to spend time with grandma.

Now I can well see limits, such as only being available for nonstop flights, or banning kids who are under school age. Don't see why a 10 y/o is such a huge problem. Of course airlines do have the right to charge the parents the incremental costs that are incurred to transport a UM.

But as there are no non stop flights between Australia and Europe, if you say UM service becomes available for non-stop flights only, then Australians still won't be able to send their children to visit Granny in Europe.
 
B777LRF
Posts: 2875
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:23 am

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:41 am

I put my daughter on her first UM flight at the tender age of 6, on an international flight to boot. She kept flying down to see me once or twice a year, and loved the pampered UM life; the trolley dollies were fawning over her, got the best seat in the house, was invited to say hi to the pilots after landing, all the free softdrinks and chocolate she could handle. When she turned 15 and flew on her own for the first time, it was quite the let down - no more VIP service. She bitched for days about that, and wanted me to fake her ID so that she could fly UM home. I blew some miles and upgraded her to business, which made the journey almost bearable  

That a carrier the like of BA discontinues UM service is, quite frankly, a scandal.
 
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scbriml
Posts: 20090
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:27 am

Quoting a380787 (Reply 35):
but it's a slippery slope when all European legacies copy this move

The slippery slope to where, exactly?

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?

Not forgetting priests! What could possibly go wrong?   

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 46):
That a carrier the like of BA discontinues UM service is, quite frankly, a scandal.

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.
 
a380787
Posts: 4573
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:38 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:42 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 38):

I agree with charging higher fee to compensate for extra labor and liability risk, 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 (eg refusing to sit next to opposite gender)

Imagine the day when all legacies refuse UM, and parents are left with choices like Allegiant or Lion Air
 
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GCT64
Posts: 1927
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:34 pm

RE: BA Stops Accepting Unaccompanied Minors (UMs)

Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:20 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 2):
I doubt the number is all that high anyway.

A few years ago, we sent my daughter UM at age 11 (or around about there) LHR-NCE-LHR on BA to stay with friends. I recall she said there were 10 UMs just on her flight (I can't remember the exact number), so I'm not sure the number is that small or negligble.

The number of children travelling on routes such as HKG-LHR at the beginning and end of boarding school terms must be significant. In Scotland some kids, albeit I believe mostly 11 and upwards rather than young ones, fly to school daily / weekly.

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