US Air bumped minor children traveling alone...

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by suenam, Aug 12, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    I don't know where to begin. My two children, aged 13 and 16, were traveling from Boston to San Francisco via Philadelphia on US Air. They arrived in Philadelphia at 4 PM and went to their gate for the connecting flight which was scheduled for 5:45. Flight was delayed twice and then finally was scheduled for departure. However, they told my kids that the flight was overbooked and that one of them would have to stay behind. It was actually the 13 year old that was involuntarily bumped. When I made the reservation US Air told me that he could not travel alone but it would be possible for him to travel with his 16 year old sister. However, US Air apparently felt that it was OK to bump him. My daughter, of course, refused to fly without him. So, she stayed behind as well. They gave her a voucher for $425 for future travel and gave my son a check for $100. They also gave them $50 in food vouchers and told them to take the shuttle to the Hilton Hotel! My kids did eventually find their way to the shuttle after getting some food in the airport and asking many different people where they could find the shuttle. They arrived at the Hilton about 10:30 PM after taking the shuttle and the hotel refused to accommodate them because they were unaccompanied minors. I could not be reached and was unaware that all of this was happening. I thought they were safely on their flight to SFO. I don't fault Hilton for not accepting them. I believe they were correct in their decision. However, US Air is a completely different story. Hilton called US Air to come and pick up the kids. After about an hour, they sent a chaperone to pick them up and take them back to the airport where they had to wait until the woman finished her shift. She then took them to the airport Marriott and checked them into a room and took the room next door for herself. My daughter was frantic with worry during this whole ordeal. They eventually got on their flight the next morning at 7:45 am. I just don't know what to do about this. I feel that US Air was completely out of line making 2 children stay behind by themselves. Does anybody know what can be done about this or who I can speak to in order to lodge a complaint? Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So involuntary denied boarding and they gave the bumped passenger $100?! (not that bumping the kids at all was acceptable)

    I am not sure I'd even be interested in talking to someone at US in this case (though calling customer service and asking for a supervisor and asking for an explanation would probably still be the right thing to do). I'd be working on my DOT complaint already, I think. I don't know what the DOT rules are for unaccompanied minors, but it seems that they at least violated the IDB regulations.

    http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/CP_AirlineService.htm

    It's shocking to think that the US agent thought the hotel would accept them without an adult present.
     
  3. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Wow, just wow. Quite unacceptable for US Airways to do this.
     
  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    That's what I'm thinking as well... of ALL the people on the plane, even if it was full of old ladies, the absolute LAST person you IDB is an unaccompanied minor... it's just common sense. To actually bump two of them at that is beyond ridiculous.

    Then to make matters worse and just send them on their way with some vouchers... I mean, I wouldn't believe it unless it happened to me, that's just how incredibly irresponsible this entire thing is.

    I'd start the executive email carpet bomb and send a note to the guys over at the consumerist as a start.
     
  5. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Unbelievable. Is there no common sense anymore? DOT complaint seems completely appropriate.
     
  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Sorry to hear that this happened.

    +1, with emphasis on the part about bumping the proverbial old lady!
     
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  7. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Unbelievable. My 20-year-old is on a plane right now and she doesn't have a lot of experience flying (and this is her first solo flight). If that happened to her we'd deal with it, but it would be stressful. I can't imagine your scenario.

    Glad they made it home safely.
     
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  8. vinay2543

    vinay2543 Active Member

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    Totally insensitive and unthoughtful approach by US airways.....would suggest taking this up with top brass of US airways...Twitter can be another option, but not sure if US airways is responsive at all on twitter.
     
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  9. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    What is consumerist?
     
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  10. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    What is the value of a DOT complaint. Will US Air be fined?
     
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  11. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    consumerist.com talks about consumer issues and gets a lot of eyeballs on the issue, usually just re-prints your emails with a comment of some sort. I'd guess that if you get featured it would then be picked up some news organizations. That would result in pressure on US Air to apologize and state that it will never happen again.
     
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  12. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    Does anybody know where I should start emailing at US Air. Should I begin at customer service?
     
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  13. Blue Skye
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    Blue Skye Silver Member

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    that is scary even for travel savvy minors. US Air really fubar'd the whole thing. i am wondering if they thought they would get less complaint out of the 13y/o than anyone else...which doesn't make it right. so many seriously wrong/bad things could have happened, that as a parent you don't even want to think about. hope US Air gets called out on the carpet to answer for that.
     
  14. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Obviously this is beyond the standard my chair did not recline, or I lost my seat assignment complaint. I assume that you are looking for an apology and assurance that they would not do this to some other children? Because of that I'd start with the executive office, consumerist.com has pointers on how to do that.

    You could contact regular customer service but I doubt that would every reach anyone who could impact training and policy – it might get you some miles or something but that probably is not all that you want.

    Also see: http://consumerist.com/tag/complaint-letters and US goverment suggestions: http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer.shtml
     
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  15. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I generally am not a litigious person, but in this instance I would hire an attorney and sue them for anything and everything that you can including intentional infliction of emotional distress. To do what they did to your children is beyond poor judgement. I find it hard to believe that any human being with just a shred of decency would submit children to such a scenario. I can't imagine what your poor children felt during that ordeal. I hope they do not develop a fear of traveling because of some ignoramous lacking a heart at US Air.
     
  16. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    Absolutely. I hope that no child ever has to endure something like this. Thank you so much for your input.
     
  17. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    I'm almost at a loss for words with this one. WTF is the only phrase that keeps coming to mind. I agree with not starting with the standard customer service email on this one. Executive Offices sounds like a good place to start. Completely and utterly unacceptable. Had someone lost their minds?

    Push hard on this one, not just to get some sort of compensation for what happened to you and your children, but hopefully to make it painful enough for US Airways that this doesn't happen again. The outcome might not be as safe next time. 13 and 16 year old children being sent to a hotel alone overnight is just a recipe for disaster.
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If they are not booked as UAMs then US can treat them like other passengers. I have no idea if US asked for volunteers and got none or why the kids were selected as IDBs, but that isn't necessarily wrong from a rules perspective. One of the risks you take when sending kids on a connecting itinerary without the UAM support is that they are treated like adults.

    OP notes that they were out of contact during the events. Is that because the kids didn't have a mobile phone to call with or something else? Was there someone else they could have called rather than only the OP?

    I'm not saying that US should have bumped them, and certainly the agents who issued a hotel voucher rather than figuring out the proper way to deal with it is a moron. But the fact that they got bumped is not nearly so ridiculous IMO as everyone else seems to think.
     
  19. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well I guess US policy is that the 16 year old could have traveled unaccompanied without assistance, and apparently was responsible for the 13 year old, who at that point was no longer considered a UAM.

    Policy-wise it seems legit but it's still messed up.
     
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  20. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    US Air refused to book my son alone but said he could travel with his sister who is 16. Is this not acknowledging that he is a 13 year old minor?
     
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  21. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    I couldn't agree more. One hour in a hotel lobby alone, not to mention being left to fend for themselves to find the shuttle.
     
  22. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well as stupid as it sounds, the 16 year old was responsible for the 13 year old, so although they are both legally minors he was no longer unaccompanied.

    It's stupid, but it's one of the things to consider in the event of IROPS... neither one of them could fend for themselves if they have to stay anywhere overnight, even though technically they can fly together with one being responsible for the other.
     
  23. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

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    Actually, it might be worse. One thing people here seem to be missing is that both of these children were not IDB'd. Only the younger child was. From the US air's perspective, the 13 year old was a minor, and the 16 year old was the adult. US air bumped the kid, but not the adult.

    It appears we have just illuminated a scumbag US air trick here. Say US Air has overbooked by two. Pick a family, and IDB one of the kids. Almost certainly, one of the parents will stay rather than abandon a minor at the airport. But only one passenger was actually IDB! US Air saves a ton of money (two passengers knocked off for the price of one), and their DOT stats even look better.

    This needs a DOT complaint immediately.
     
  24. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Wow... I didn't think about that because I can't believe they'd be that unscrupulous, but it explains a lot. If you IDB one the other one will leave and you have less compensation and a guaranteed second seat.

    I mean seriously... it fits. Why else would you IDB the 13 year old out of all the people on the flight? Even in a CRJ you have got to have better options, even if there are no single travelers -- as unlikely as that is.
     
  25. Mirror74

    Mirror74 Gold Member

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    Wow, what a shocking story... incredible...
     

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