United Kicks An Unaccompanied Minor Off Flight, Leaves Him Stranded
United Airlines is taking heat for taking a 13-year-old off a flight, a minor who happened to be traveling unaccompanied. Worst of all, he was taken off the flight on Tuesday night and not put on another flight Wednesday, forcing a family member to drive from Virginia to New York to pick him up.
According to WUSA9, United sought to take some people off of the flight because of a weight-balancing issue. The minor, texting his older brother Martin O’Connor, asked if he should volunteer to get off, but his brother told him to not volunteer. Apparently, the United Airlines then took him off the plane to help fix the weight-balancing issue, despite the fact that he was an unaccompanied minor, a group that usually gets some added care from airline employees.
According to the news report,
O’Connor said the gate staff didn’t know Logan’s ‘unaccompanied minor’ status.
He then said, “My request to speak to a supervisor went unanswered and then, from what I can tell, everyone from the airport went home because no one from the airport could contact anyone from united when I called them.”
O’Connor has had his fair share of stress as a Dale City volunteer firefighter but called this infuriating.
“They need to look back at how they actually handle the unaccompanied minor program and make sure nobody else’s kids get left behind or lost,” he said. “I mean, my brother, had he not had his cell phone, no one would’ve know what was happening.”
This was said to be Logan’s first time in an airport and on a plane.
United Airlines put out a statement Wednesday, apologizing for the mistake, essentially acknowledging that the airline gate agents were not aware of his unaccompanied minor status. In the statement, United said, “We apologize to the O’Connors for letting them down. We have refunded the flight and as a gesture of goodwill, we offered additional compensation to reimburse them for this experience. We are working with our vendor who operated this flight to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The airline is supposedly reimbursing the $150 unaccompanied minor fee and paying the travel expenses incurred by Mr. O’Connor’s wife, who drove from Virginia to New York to get the child.
This is a pretty outrageous occurrence for an airline and is absolutely frightening. Thankfully, the boy seemed to on top of contacting his family members and keeping them in the loop. I’d say the airline should be offering more than what they are currently offering.