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Report: #124550

Complaint Review: US Airways - WINSTON SALEM North Carolina

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Gainesville Florida
  • US Airways WINSTON SALEM, North Carolina U.S.A.

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My children were on flight 346, which left Orlando, Florida and arrived in Philadelphia, PA at approximately 5:00 pm, which was already 2 hours behind the scheduled time. They were supposed to make a connecting flight, flight 284 to Providence RI. They got held over for approximately 4-5 hours before the news came that the flight was cancelled all together. The ticket counter of course was totally overwhelmed with angry passengers. The problem here is, that my two children were traveling unattended, with the my 17 year old son being old enough to take care of his 11 year old sister. These 2 minor children could not get anyone's attention to let them know they were unattended and had no idea what to do. My son, who was scared to death, got on the closest pay phone and called me collect. I told him to get pushy and get someone to notice him and explain the situation. In the meantime, I would make attempts to call US Airways located at the airport and tell them I needed their help. The Philadelphia Airport would offer no help and would not make any attempts to contact the US Air ticket counter. I attempted to call for 3 hours and kept getting the same answer or no answer. My son made every attempt to yell for help but he went ignored. My ex-husband who was receiving the kids in Providence, was there attempting to get them on another flight, but they said it would not do any good unless we could get the kids to the counter to get noticed.

I ended up calling Philadelphia Police Department, which was based in the airport to go help my kids, the whole time my children stayed on the pay phone or stood by it, and stayed in contact with me. I knew where they were at all times, but could not get a representative of either the airport or the airlines to help them. A police officer found them right where I told them they would be and he forced his way up to the ticket counter, this was around 2am 12-24-2004. He (the police officer) announced the situation to US Airways employees and my children were now considered a priority. My ex-husband had made the arrangements for them to get on flight 1484 to Providence. That flight was delayed also but finally took off around 3:00-3:30.

This is a simplified version of the horrible account that my children went through. And now I learn that this occurrence was due to employees calling in sick and some other mishaps involving US Airways. I can understand mechanical problems and weather issues, but neither of those were a minor or major factor in this total neglect of my children. I am extremely upset with US Airways treatment of my children.

Terrified mom
Gainesville, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/27/2004 02:36 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/us-airways/winston-salem-north-carolina-27102/us-airways-ripoff-children-traveling-alone-neglected-and-ignored-winston-salem-north-carol-124550. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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#5 UPDATE Employee

Rules for UMNR (Unaccompanied Minor)

AUTHOR: Jay - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Thursday, March 24, 2005
Let me start by saying I am sorry that the employees responsible for this caused it to occour in the first place I assure you I am very empathetic to your plight.

Beyond that I would like to ask if you did in fact pay any UMNR fees for both children and for both directions. The reason I ask this is because an 11 year old can travel with a 17 year old without paying the fees and receiving the service this is the OPTION of the parent or guardian bringing them to the airport. If the fees weren't paid then the kids were said to be competent enough to traverse any airport they were going to and pay attention to direction given by the employees. If the fees were paid and they did not have an employee with them at all times then it is on the shoulders of US Airways.

There also are specific rules in RE UMNR travel such as the minor may not embark on the days travel if the only connection option they have is the last connection of the day as well it is frowned upon to allow them to book the 2nd to the last flight of the night. Also they aren't even allowed on a plane if its late and going to miss it's connection UNLESS there is a backup connection no more than 4 hrs behind their arrival time.

Even further than that under no circumstances can UMNR's be bumped from a flight. If it is oversold or there was an aircraft change and there are seats lost if they can't go the flight can't go.

Seeing these circumstances on a daily basis I understand how frustrating it can be to have a child or anyone lost without a way home. Almost daily there is a situation where a connection is broken and I have to tell the poor people in front of me that their travel plans are wasted for a day. I wish it weren't so but it is a part of the airline industry. There isn't a SINGLE airline company out there that has a 100% fly ratio.

I hope you understand there was no malice toward your children, at least from my perspective, and you come to understand that us ticket counter, gate, and ramp agents are hard working individuals many with quite a few years under their belts and feel as though they have been ripped off.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

I myself will only fly them on direct flights to where they are going

AUTHOR: Lisa - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, December 29, 2004
I fly my two older children on Delta from Georgia to New York several times a year. I believe in DELTA they are wonderful with my children and yes I pay the $40.00 fee. I have been told though that when my oldest is 15 she will no longer be receiving this service. She is nervous about this. I will still insist to walk her to the gate and meet her there as well.

I will try to get her help too. I myself will only fly them on direct flights to where they are going. I would never chance a connecting flight it is to risky. I want the flying experience to be wonderful and DELTA certainly makes it one.... Thank you DELTA.
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#3 Consumer Comment

This is what happens when you try to cut costs

AUTHOR: Ukiah - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, December 29, 2004
This whole thing could have easily been prevented. Airlines are more then willing to properly take care of unaccompanied minors - for a fee. But many parents, like this one, want to get by cheaply and balk at paying the fee, often with results such as this.

In this case, the parent actually states:

"with the my 17 year old son being old enough to take care of his 11 year old sister."

So, it's clear that she felt her son was going to be responsible. In hindsight, a bad decision. Then her next decision is to send the children over the busiest time of the year -AND- one of the riskiest times of the year due to weather. Again, these two decisions were made by the person buying the tickets, and that would be Mom. The airline isn't even involved as yet. So, it ONLY became the airline's "fault" later when her poor decisions failed to work as planned, and the kids encountered problems.

It's a shame and totally understandable that they were intimidated and worried, but again, let's look at who put them in that situation in the first place. It's Mom, not US Air. You MUST assume that things can go wrong - especially this time of year - and take every precaution accordingly. No such precautions were in place here.

So please folks, if you can afford the plane ticket for your child, you can afford the unaccompanied minor fee as well. If not, PLEASE don't take the chance this parent did and place your kids in this type of situation. I'm on 4 flights a week on Delta, and can assure you that I have NEVER seen anything but the best treatment of these kids. They have a big button to wear that alerts any Delta employee that they are unaccompanied, they get walked onto the plane and then met at the gate at the destination. They get "special" service from the flight attendants, and about all the cookies and snacks they can handle. All in all, flying is a wonderful adventure for these kids and something they will always remember fondly. In the case of this report, these kids will always remember their experience as well, as naturally will have no idea that Mom could have prevented the entire affair. How sad.
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#2 Consumer Comment

This is what happens when you try to cut costs

AUTHOR: Ukiah - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, December 29, 2004
This whole thing could have easily been prevented. Airlines are more then willing to properly take care of unaccompanied minors - for a fee. But many parents, like this one, want to get by cheaply and balk at paying the fee, often with results such as this.

In this case, the parent actually states:

"with the my 17 year old son being old enough to take care of his 11 year old sister."

So, it's clear that she felt her son was going to be responsible. In hindsight, a bad decision. Then her next decision is to send the children over the busiest time of the year -AND- one of the riskiest times of the year due to weather. Again, these two decisions were made by the person buying the tickets, and that would be Mom. The airline isn't even involved as yet. So, it ONLY became the airline's "fault" later when her poor decisions failed to work as planned, and the kids encountered problems.

It's a shame and totally understandable that they were intimidated and worried, but again, let's look at who put them in that situation in the first place. It's Mom, not US Air. You MUST assume that things can go wrong - especially this time of year - and take every precaution accordingly. No such precautions were in place here.

So please folks, if you can afford the plane ticket for your child, you can afford the unaccompanied minor fee as well. If not, PLEASE don't take the chance this parent did and place your kids in this type of situation. I'm on 4 flights a week on Delta, and can assure you that I have NEVER seen anything but the best treatment of these kids. They have a big button to wear that alerts any Delta employee that they are unaccompanied, they get walked onto the plane and then met at the gate at the destination. They get "special" service from the flight attendants, and about all the cookies and snacks they can handle. All in all, flying is a wonderful adventure for these kids and something they will always remember fondly. In the case of this report, these kids will always remember their experience as well, as naturally will have no idea that Mom could have prevented the entire affair. How sad.
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#1 Consumer Comment

This is what happens when you try to cut costs

AUTHOR: Ukiah - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, December 29, 2004
This whole thing could have easily been prevented. Airlines are more then willing to properly take care of unaccompanied minors - for a fee. But many parents, like this one, want to get by cheaply and balk at paying the fee, often with results such as this.

In this case, the parent actually states:

"with the my 17 year old son being old enough to take care of his 11 year old sister."

So, it's clear that she felt her son was going to be responsible. In hindsight, a bad decision. Then her next decision is to send the children over the busiest time of the year -AND- one of the riskiest times of the year due to weather. Again, these two decisions were made by the person buying the tickets, and that would be Mom. The airline isn't even involved as yet. So, it ONLY became the airline's "fault" later when her poor decisions failed to work as planned, and the kids encountered problems.

It's a shame and totally understandable that they were intimidated and worried, but again, let's look at who put them in that situation in the first place. It's Mom, not US Air. You MUST assume that things can go wrong - especially this time of year - and take every precaution accordingly. No such precautions were in place here.

So please folks, if you can afford the plane ticket for your child, you can afford the unaccompanied minor fee as well. If not, PLEASE don't take the chance this parent did and place your kids in this type of situation. I'm on 4 flights a week on Delta, and can assure you that I have NEVER seen anything but the best treatment of these kids. They have a big button to wear that alerts any Delta employee that they are unaccompanied, they get walked onto the plane and then met at the gate at the destination. They get "special" service from the flight attendants, and about all the cookies and snacks they can handle. All in all, flying is a wonderful adventure for these kids and something they will always remember fondly. In the case of this report, these kids will always remember their experience as well, as naturally will have no idea that Mom could have prevented the entire affair. How sad.
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