27 July 2010

United Agents Forget About Unaccompanied Minor In Chicago

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Here goes another blunder by the airline and it's irresponsible employees that just sends chills down the spine of anyone who is a parent that may fly by themselves!
Kids fly all over the airlines and you would think that the airline employees would pay a little more attention to them because they are children, well that doesn't always seem to be the case and it's starting to happen more often than not. Airlines are losing kids left and right, sending them to the wrong destination or just leaving them behind. I bet they don't have a problem letting you know that you owe extra money for baggage, sodas or food when your on the plane.

Here is the latest incident to add in the "UM Woes" from United Airlines in Chicago (United's Corporate HQ). Agents failed to get a UM to his flight and fed him the wrong food and I'm sure the best thing that United will do is say "were sorry" and here is a future travel certificate for next time in the future!!! So read along and I have inserted my comments in Italics and hopefully United will evaluate their procedure when handling UM's and make some changes pretty quick!!!

Original Story Below

A nine-year-old boy was forgotten in a Chicago airport waiting room Saturday for nearly eight hours after an airline representative failed to put him on a connecting flight, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Julien Reid was headed home to Ottawa on a United flight after visiting his dad in San Francisco, a trip he makes about six times a year.

The agent slipped up on this one for sure! How do you forget a child in the process of working flights especially when they are usually logged into a waiting room for unaccompanied minors and flight info is tracked so that they can be taken to their flight for pre-boarding.

He left San Francisco at 6 a.m. and arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at 11 a.m. He was supposed to catch a connecting flight from Chicago to Ottawa at 1:50 p.m., which would have put him in Ottawa at about 4:45 p.m.

The agents working the minors flight to Ottawa didn't check their Special Services list to see if they had any special customers to be on the lookout for ie UM's, wheelchairs, blind passengers etc. The agents working the flight failed to stay ahead of their flight and all important items which is unacceptable. The agent working where the minor was being held between flights also failed to call or message the departure flight agents to advise them to be on the lookout for a UM before they started their boarding process. The ball was dropped here in several areas which are designed to prevent such a thing from happening.

His mother, Genevieve Harte, checked online and saw that Julien's flight was delayed until 5:35 p.m. When she arrived at the airport to pick him up, she noticed other passengers had disembarked but that her son was nowhere to be found.

Then she got a call from Julien, using his own pre-paid cell phone. He said he was still at the Chicago airport in a "tiny, little room cramped with kids," where they played the same video on a loop all day, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The only food he'd been given was McDonald's, but Julian is a vegetarian. He said the other children were yelled at to "stop being kids."

He was in the UM room which most if not all airlines have at least in their Hub cities. The little boy was able to call his mom and let her know that he was still in Chicago from his personal cell phone. Why didn't the agents keep up with this minor? He was in a room playing video games and he was obviously being watched...sort of anyway and he was fed.

Now why was a child that is vegetarian fed McDonald's and I'm sure if he is 9 and smart enough to call his mom and tell her he was still in Chicago he probably told someone that he didn't eat meat. If he was Muslim, Jewish or just didn't eat pork would they have listened to him or would they have dismissed his dietary request? This is a little slip up on the parents part because they depended on the airline to feed their child while he was enroute.
He has special dietary restrictions so the parent should have made sure he had carried his own food so that this would not be a problem. That being said I would be highly upset that someone gave my child food that he could not eat! How much does the airline employees really care about your child when they are in the airlines care???

Harte, 36, asked Julien to put her on the phone with the United attendant who was watching the children. That's when the attendant let it slip that no one had come to fetch Julien to put him on his connecting flight, she told the Ottawa Citizen.

Fetch Julian??? Is he a dog??? No, the agent should have called the departure flight agents and told them she had a UM for their flight like I said above. She should have called for a supervisor if there was not someone who could take him to his connecting flight ie "UM Runner", extra agent or something. Checking for Special service request before a flight boards is required for an agent to do every flight. It's like going to the bathroom, it must be done or the consequences can be bad on so many levels!

This is why I always say that airline employees need to care more about what they do and take a personal stake in what they do when at work otherwise find another job where you don't have to care about anything and you can still get the job done!

We have already seen where an airline has put Um's on the wrong flights to the wrong destinations and to be as irresponsible as to forget the child all together is flat out wrong! if the airlines don't have people in position that care about what they do especially when it comes to someone else's child then they need to get rid of them and find somebody that really does care.

I'm a parent and a 23 year airline profession working on the ground and in the air and this is something I would not allow if this is what I need to expect out of airline employees. They need to be doing it better because they are dealing directly with someones child and I only hope that Julian's parents blast United for this mistake and make it a big deal and not let United just give them a free ticket for the trouble!!!

Remember To Be Proactive Not Reactive and Enjoy Your Flight!!!

BlkAv8tor2003

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