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Kids Not On A Plane

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, June 19, 2009 1:23 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Children's Safety, Airline Industry, Airlines, Mass Transit


IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto / author: Bolot

Two unaccompanied girls placed on wrong Continental Flights within two days.

Continental Airlines is taking steps to ensure proper procedures are followed after two unaccompanied young girls were placed on the wrong flights over the weekend.

Parents of unaccompanied minors pay the airline an additional fee for airline staff to keep watch over the child to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. Although that is the plan - that is not what happened recently when two young girls were mistakenly sent to the wrong locations.

An 8-year-old girl was heading to Charlotte, N.C. last weekend to see her father only she ended up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“Never have I seen so much incompetence in all my life,” said Wendy Babineaux. Her daughter was heading to Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday to see her father. But she was sent to Fayetteville, back to Houston and then to Charlotte.

And Sunday, Jonathan Kamens put his daughter on a Continental flight to Cleveland from Logan Airport in Boston to visit her grandparents. He gave the gate agent his paperwork and escorted his daughter down the jetway, where she was put on the plane.

But apparently she was put on the wrong plane. Shortly after the plane landed in Ohio, Mr. Kamens received a call from his father-in-law saying his granddaughter had not arrived.

For 45 minutes no one was able to tell Mr. Kamens where his daughter was. She was finally located in Newark, N.J.

“It’s mindboggling. No one on the Cleveland flight crew noticed my daughter, who was listed as an unaccompanied minor on the manifest, wasn’t on the plane,” said Kamens.

He wrote about the situation on his personal blog.

In an emailed statement, Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for Continental said, that in both instances flights with different destinations were being loaded at the same time from the same doorway and there was miscommunication among staff.

“Both children were supervised through the entire process and rebooked and routed to the proper destinations the same day,” the statement also said.

According to the Consumerist, the airline is trying to make good on the mishap and it is refunding Kamens entire fare and flying her back to Boston, first-class free of charge. Read the full details.

From Mr. Kamens blog, “Now we have to ask ourselves an obvious question. If this kind of thing can happen twice in two days, and if none of the staff members involved in cleaning up the incident involving my daughter on Sunday felt that it was serious enough to warrant initiating damage control procedures at corporate HQ on a weekend, then which is more likely: (a) these are isolated occurrences, highly unusual, which just coincidentally happened one right after the other; or (b) this actually happens on a regular basis, and the only reason it hasn’t come to light before now is because no one has made a fuss about it like I did?”

Mr. Kamens votes, (B). Do you agree? What are your feelings on the matter? Please share your opinion below.

If your child will be flying alone, The Middle Seat Terminal recommends the following precautions for parents:

- Book direct flights and avoid connecting flights whenever possible which lessens the chance of confusion. This may mean a longer drive to a hub airport.

- Give your child a cell phone to travel with and enable GPS if possible. Instruct your child to turn the cell phone on as soon as the plane lands so you know where the child is at all times.

- Get a pass that will allow you to go through security with your child to make sure they get on the proper flight.

- If possible purchase a second ticket to accompany your child on the flight. The fees to do so can be costly, but it will also enhance your child’s safety while reducing your stress! #


Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, June 19, 2009 5:03 PM EST

Chrissie -

Thanks for giving parents some sense that they can have control over the situation!

Posted by James Cool
Friday, June 19, 2009 7:29 PM EST

Is it wrong of me to really want folks who screw up this badly to say: "We made a horrible mistake. There is no excuse. We're very sorry." Why must I always read the mitigating disclaimer "they were always supervised and we re-routed them" blah blah blah. Just say "We're sorry, we screwed up."

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, June 19, 2009 7:55 PM EST

Thanks, Jane!

James, I agree with you. "Sorry, we screwed up," would carry more weight than trying to justify the situation with excuses that just add insult to injury.

Comments for this article are closed.

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