19 June 2009

Airline sends girls to wrong cities ... twice; Parents want changes

After mistakenly sending two different unaccompanied minors to the wrong cities, Continental says it has procedures in place to prevent that from happening again. However, the parents of the two girls that were separately sent to the wrong cities aren't so sure.

The incidents, of course, happened this past the weekend on flights operated by Continental affiliate ExpressJet. The first came when an 8-year-old girl headed from Houston to Charlotte on Saturday was mistakenly put on a flight to northwest Arkansas. In a separate incident a day later, a 10-year-old girl headed from Boston to Cleveland was mistakenly put on a flight to Newark.

"That they did this with my child and turned around the next day and did it with another child shows they do have major problems," Wendy Babineaux – mother of the 8-year-old girl – says to The Associated Press.

For its part, Continental says the mistakes came as two flights were departing at the same time from a single gate area. The airline says miscommunication among staff members is what led to each of the girls boarding on the wrong aircraft. "We're reviewing the entire situation and are focused on reinforcing our procedures with our employees," Continental spokeswoman Kelly Cripe tells AP.

But Jonathan Kamens, the father of the 10-year-old girl who was mistakenly sent to New Jersey, says the airline may need to consider doing more than just reinforcing its existing procedures. He says changes may be needed after two mix-ups in as many days. "Unless they are doing that, they are not responding adequately and are in denial about the fact something needs to be done to prevent this from happening again."

As for the families, why have they gone to the press? AP writes that "while Babineaux has hired an attorney, both she and Kamens have said they are not looking for compensation from a lawsuit." Babineaux tells AP: "This way, when (Continental) hears attorney, they think maybe, 'We need to get our stuff together.' I'm hoping to get better treatment for unaccompanied minors so no one will have to go through what I did." As for Kamen, he says he hoped to put Continental "in front of the court of public opinion” after the incident.

Continental's Cripe points out to ABC News: "We fly thousands of unaccompanied minors every year and the procedures work when followed. This is not something that happens on a regular basis. It's more like a freak accident that it would happen back-to-back like this."

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checkin' In!!!

Now I know your probably asking yourself, how does an airline send two children on two different flights to the wrong destinations?

Well the information as reported by the news agencies is sketchy at best because they just went on the fact that the airline sent two children to the wrong destinations.

So the questions that should be asked was:

1.Did the parents pay for the children to be handled as “Unaccompanied Minors?”
2.were the parents at the airport at the time of departure.
3.Could the parents see the children board their respective flights?
4.Were the children brought to the airport on time or were they running a little late as so to cause some from confusion?

Usually when a UM or Unaccompanied Minor boards an aircraft the flight attendants are suppose to verify the child's tickets especially since the flight attendants hold the child's tickets for the whole flight.

Are the flight attendants not even speaking to the children when they board? Asking the child if they know where they were going? Was it to visit grandparents, divorced parent or cousins?

I just can't believe that nobody asked the child who they were going to see r why they were going where they were going?

The gate agents are at fault, flight attendants are too! The ball has been dropped by all of the frontline employees and also dropped by the parents because they didn't do their due diligence and follow up or verify the aircraft that the kids were boarded on.

People, when you travel or your kids fly alone, you as a parent need to be "in the loop when they are in the care of others and no question, comment or concern is stupid when it comes to your child. If you let your child fly around the country alone and your relying on the airline to care for your child like you would then you deserve whatever happens because you have become negligent and put your child in harms way on purpose!

I don't play with the welfare of children and I take air travel very seriously and I know that there is only a handfull of employees that would take care of your child like you do or better.

as I always say "Be Proactive, Not Reactive and don't become a victim!"


1 comment:

1st Class Diva said...

The questions you ask are very valid. Yes it isn't acceptable for children to be placed on the wrong plane but there is always a set of circumstances leading up to a mistake like this and just like schools, we can't always expect and leave it up to institutions to take care of our children like we would.

It is up to parents to ask the questions and demand the answers. My comment here in no way reflects what actually occurred in this situation because I don't know. Obviously an overhaul of the procedures is required, not just with that airline, but all airlines dealing with UM's.