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(CBC)   United Airlines loses 10-year old girl flying to summer camp. Airline representative to little girl: "we can't help you" ... Airline representative to parents: "Sorry, my shift is ending". Anger ensues   (cbc.ca) divider line 162
    More: Fail, Chicago's O'Hare, O'Hare, Traverse City, customer service representative, airlines  
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18032 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Aug 2012 at 4:19 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-14 05:16:14 PM
I was 5 or 6 when I started flying solo. Back then Delta had a fantastic unaccompanied minor program. On one cross-Atlantic flight I got motion sickness so the stewardess (that's what they were back then) moved me up into first class so they could keep a better eye on me.

A steward pointed to an enormous black man sitting on the other side of the cabin. The only other occupant in first class. "Do you know who that is? George Foreman. Want me to see if I can get you his autograph?"

/CSB
//Still have the autograph.
 
2012-08-14 05:19:04 PM

mcreadyblue: cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.


Deal with it

They outsourced to non-union 3rd party to deal with unaccompanied minors.

/win win for everyone??


HAH! Threadshiatting and it isn't even pretend correct.
 
2012-08-14 05:19:36 PM

Inflatable Rhetoric: Barbecue Bob: Farkin_Crazy: What parent in their right mind lets a 10 year old fly unattended across the country?

Came to say this...
/This.

Airlines loose luggage every day. You're going to send your 10 year old kid alone with them?
Idiot parents.

It's lose luggage. They don't loose it, they lose it.
It's only 4 letters.


Obviously, "loose" is the correct one to use here, since it has five letters; obviously the correct word to use, since 5 is better than 4.
 
2012-08-14 05:21:54 PM

I May Be Crazy But...: Inflatable Rhetoric: Barbecue Bob: Farkin_Crazy: What parent in their right mind lets a 10 year old fly unattended across the country?

Came to say this...
/This.

Airlines loose luggage every day. You're going to send your 10 year old kid alone with them?
Idiot parents.

It's lose luggage. They don't loose it, they lose it.
It's only 4 letters.

Maybe they let it out to run around. You know, give it a little taste of freedom.


I've met some loose luggage in my time. A got a red hard-shell in Cleveland to spread for me.
 
2012-08-14 05:22:13 PM

Elegy: Obviously, "loose" is the correct one to use here, since it has five letters; obviously the correct word to use, since 5 is better than 4.


Noo woonder Leoon is getting laaarger.

i190.photobucket.com
 
2012-08-14 05:23:30 PM
This guy is supposedly a frequent flier and thinks it's OK to send his daughter on a connecting flight through ORD in the summer? Hell, half the flights through there are delayed in the summer. It's probably worse than the winter.

Also, they live in San Fran. Couldn't they have just booked a direct flight to Detroit? Oh yes, they would have had to actually pay for that ticket. So headline should read, Cheap ass dad too much of a prick to pay $400 to get his daughter a direct ticket flips out when the inevitable happens. Seriously if not being able to contact your daughter for 45 minutes freaks you out that much (which it should) then why did you put her on a flight with a connection?
 
2012-08-14 05:24:54 PM

Lord_Dubu: A steward pointed to an enormous black man sitting on the other side of the cabin. The only other occupant in first class. "Do you know who that is? George Foreman. Want me to see if I can get you his autograph?"

/CSB
//Still have the autograph.



That is a CSB. I had divorced parents living in different cities, so I used to fly alone a lot. There were usually several of us kids going solo, and they let us board first. I learned how to do the old 80s "fold and roll" move with the cuffs of my jeans from a kid on one of those flights. We were kings then.

On one flight, I sat next to a guy who was some kind of game designer for Nintendo. This is when the first 8-bit Nintendo was still the big thing, and I thought I'd won the lottery. We talked Nintendo all the way, and he told me what hardware and games not to buy.
 
2012-08-14 05:28:19 PM

spectrek: suspenters instead of a belt


I just got one of these. Best quality non-metalic belt I could find.
 
2012-08-14 05:34:13 PM

heavymetal: FTFA:
In speaking with their daughter, the Klebahns discovered:

When Phoebe landed, no one was there to get her.
The attendants told their daughter they could not help her and to wait.
She asked three times to use a phone and they told her to wait.Phoebe then missed her flight and informed a United employee and asked them to make sure the camp in Michigan knew she was late. She was told United would "take care of it."


Kidnapping charge, anyone?
 
2012-08-14 05:34:45 PM

Contrabulous Flabtraption: Yep, up until 3 years ago they still gave meals to economy for free. Then they realized service doesn't matter, only fares, because people are stupid and will continue to fly no matter how they're treated, as long as it's "cheap"


Huh?

You mean a "snack" - if you were on a flight lasting at least 4 hours that occurred during hours considered mealtimes?

They stopped serving free meals much longer ago than 3 years.

And how can you complain about the lack of free meals and then turn around and say people are stupid because they only care that it's "cheap"?

You know what I care about when I choose a flight? Mostly price. Speed and convenience are also a factor. I prefer not to take 3 different flights to get to one place so I'll pay a little more for a direct flight. For convenience I'd prefer to fly when I want to but if I have to get my ass out of bed early or arrive late at night to save a little money I'm okay with that.

The airlines made it clear a long time ago that they don't have stewardesses, they have flight attendants and they aren't there to wait on you hand and foot. They are there to make sure things go smoothly and safely. Some of them are rude, most of them are indifferent and some of them are polite.

I don't fly because I enjoy the experience. I fly to get places that I can't drive to in under 4 hours. If you want to be treated nicely, fly first class. It will NOT be cheap. For the rest of us, there's coach and you're darn tootin' we're gonna pay the cheapest fare possible.

The meals were never that good anyway. If you're flying for the dining experience, you're doing it wrong.
 
2012-08-14 05:36:51 PM
United is surpassed by only US Air as worst customer service. I'm not happy they bought out Continental, because now I have to fly shiatty United out of IAH all the time.
 
2012-08-14 05:38:35 PM

WhyteRaven74: Inflatable Rhetoric: It's lose luggage. They don't loose it, they lose it.

Paging rotsky, rotsky please pick up the white courtesy phone.


Yea, sure.
 
2012-08-14 05:42:39 PM
The hilarious problem here is that some airlines require MANDATORY fees for an airline escort for an unaccompanied minor.

A "minor" means a lot of things. Some kids, at say 15, are skilled travelers comfortable with making connecting flights and all- and don't care to be babysat by an airline employee. They'll walk away from their minder when told to stay somewhere, or avoid meeting them entirely.

This is a curious legal thing, too. Parents can contract out someone to take in loco parentis authority, where a third party assumes quasi-parental rights. And handing over that right is inherently part of sending them to school, your teacher can tell them where to be and what to do. But a corporation? As a requirement of using the airline? Mmmm... whether we're talking law or "common sense", this is strange.

Airline employees sent to do this know the problem, so does management. So when they can't find a kid, it's not an inherent emergency and they don't have any real authority over the minor anyways, and they may just give up. Consequently, the entire institution is somewhat meaningless, as there won't be a strong response if a child DOES go missing.
 
2012-08-14 05:44:18 PM

Burning_Monk: Cheron: I suppose you could just call Chicago police and report a missing child.

Better yet, claim the airline KIDNAPPED!!! their child.


Just call up Liam Neeson and tell him the girl was TAKEN. I hear he has a particular set of skills that applies to the situation.

/I don't know who you are, but I will find you, and I will speak to you in a threatening manner.
 
2012-08-14 05:51:40 PM

pippi longstocking: If you can afford to send your 10 year old to a summer camp across states you can afford another goddamn ticket for yourself, or pay a family member to do it.


THIS times eleventy!
 
2012-08-14 06:01:21 PM
US airlines suck. I've worked for two of them. And flown almost all of them.

I've found the airlines to be much better in Europe. Nice service. Security without the theater. They even serve food with the price of your ticket.
 
2012-08-14 06:01:24 PM

IrieTom: Dletter: I can't imagine what the hell that summer camp in Traverse City, MI had that is so awesome you had to fly your kid out to it by themselves for it.

http://www.interlochen.org/


This was my thought too.
 
2012-08-14 06:04:39 PM

MorePeasPlease: scottydoesntknow: I flew when I was 9 to Chicago from Houston and it was awesome, even got to go in the pilot's cabin and got some of those pin-on wings. Nowadays, no way in hell.

Me too, back in the 70's they let me peek in the cockpit and get wings (I liked movies about gladiators).
It was with a heavy heart that I had to tell my daughter on her first flight that she wouldn't get to do that cool stuff nowadays.

Then, since we were the last folks off the jet, they told her to come on up and sit in the pilot's seat, grab the yoke, put on a headset and and talk on the intercom.

Thanks a lot for making me look like a dick, cool airline crew.


Have you ever been to a Turkish prison?
 
2012-08-14 06:04:39 PM
Jeez that's nuts. Back in 2002 my husband drove to California on business and decided to stay a few extra days and had me put our 10 year old daughter on a plane so he could take her to Disneyland over the weekend. Southwest Airlines had a policy requiring me to remain at the departing gate for 45 minutes after her plane took off. From Las Vegas it's barely an hour flight. When she arrived in California they escorted my husband inside the plane to collect his daughter. They even made her verify that, "yes that's my dad" before she could leave the plane.
 
2012-08-14 06:05:37 PM

oldsbone: pippi longstocking: If you can afford to send your 10 year old to a summer camp across states you can afford another goddamn ticket for yourself, or pay a family member to do it.

The camp was probably Interlochen Arts Camp. It's pretty much one of a kind. It's intensive, lasts several weeks (or the whole summer), and attracts high level faculty from around the nation. It's not a summer camp put on by your local directional university where it's a week long and all of your counselors are 20 year old college kids. For some parents, it's important-even if it represents major financial sacrifice. After paying for it, they might not have been able to afford two more round trip tickets for an adult (take the kid to Michigan, go home. Go to Michigan in 5 weeks, pick up kid.). It's not unreasonable to expect that, if you pay for unaccompanied minor service, that you actually get...well...service. That's what it's there for.


This one time...

profile.ak.fbcdn.net
 
2012-08-14 06:06:49 PM

dustygrimp: heavymetal: FTFA:
In speaking with their daughter, the Klebahns discovered:

When Phoebe landed, no one was there to get her.
The attendants told their daughter they could not help her and to wait.
She asked three times to use a phone and they told her to wait.Phoebe then missed her flight and informed a United employee and asked them to make sure the camp in Michigan knew she was late. She was told United would "take care of it."

Kidnapping charge, anyone?


cdn.uproxx.com
 
2012-08-14 06:08:48 PM

Nightshade50: Parents to airline: Lawsuit

I know it would of crossed my mind if I was a parent.


Would of, huh?
 
2012-08-14 06:16:41 PM

moonage daydream: Nightshade50: Parents to airline: Lawsuit

I know it would of crossed my mind if I was a parent.

Would of, huh?


Yes. In his mind of wood.
 
2012-08-14 06:33:11 PM

scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone.


I don't let my son fly alone at that age either, first because he isn't certified, but secondly I don't think he is capable of handing tricky landings or keeping a cool head at the controls in an emergency. By the time he is 16 I damn well expect he will be.

I certainly let him ride on a damn commercial jet though.

If you don't feel your 10 year old can, then you need to possibly reevaluate your parenting. Kids at 10 many places are responsibly doing a hell of a lot of things daily that you probably are afraid to even do yourself.
 
2012-08-14 06:36:15 PM

dletter: WhyteRaven74: cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.

Yes lets blame everything bad on unions and not companies who treat customer service as annoyance.

I guess that is getting to the "culture" of the company.


Yes, a culture that outsources everything it can, pays minimum wage, and runs people on insane shift schedules that require some of them to live in RV's in the airport parking lots.
-THAT- leads to a lot of highly skilled and motivated workers, doesn't it? But lets blame it on unions.
 
2012-08-14 06:36:46 PM
To play devil's advocate - can you IMAGINE the sheer volume of insane customer complaints and requests an airline deals with? Of course they'd ignore a legitimate complaint.

//works in a hotel.
///people call my boss to complain when I don't give them a free room.
///People suck.
 
2012-08-14 06:37:54 PM
I don't know if they miss me or not, but I sure as shiat was happy I moved on from that organization and went to work for a start-up. United had the most unsafe "security" policies I'd ever seen.
 
2012-08-14 06:41:41 PM

CliChe Guevara: scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone.

I don't let my son fly alone at that age either, first because he isn't certified, but secondly I don't think he is capable of handing tricky landings or keeping a cool head at the controls in an emergency. By the time he is 16 I damn well expect he will be.

I certainly let him ride on a damn commercial jet though.

If you don't feel your 10 year old can, then you need to possibly reevaluate your parenting. Kids at 10 many places are responsibly doing a hell of a lot of things daily that you probably are afraid to even do yourself.


This. Hell, back when I was 10 years old I remember getting on my bike and riding all the way over to my friend's house across town, totally without any parental involvement at all! What shiatty parents I must have had.

Farkers are the first to call out stupid helicopter parenting but then are the first to turn around and advocate for exactly the same thing. Fark, Where Parents Are Always WrongTM
 
2012-08-14 06:57:36 PM

Rwa2play: cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.


Deal with it

So...that log in the pool was yours wasn't it?


Hmm. Baby Ruth.
 
2012-08-14 07:16:15 PM

ISubmittedThisYesterdayWithAMuchFunnierHeadline: It's been touched on, but I have to reiterate. We don't let our 13-year-old daughters walk to the corner store without a cell phone. How you could send a child across the country without one blows my mind.


Good grief, where do you live? I can't imagine living somewhere so dangerous a 13 y.o would need a cell phone before heading to the corner store.
 
2012-08-14 07:30:39 PM

farkityfarker: The kid couldn't know her connecting flight number and look at the screen to see what gate it was departing from and go to that gate?

Was this a camp for "special" kids?


True, and it's not like those signs they have hanging from the ceiling are hard to comprehend.
 
2012-08-14 07:42:56 PM
About the "they should have given her a cell phone" issue, I was thinking that they were not permitted at camp. But according to the camp website:

Can my child have a cell phone, laptop computer or iPod at Interlochen?

Interlochen Arts Camp is a busy and intense program of a quality that is best experienced without the distraction of cell phones; we recommend leaving them at home if they are not needed while traveling. Students who choose to have phones at Interlochen will be able to us them on a limited basis at designated times and in designated locations that will be explained after arrival. Cell phones are not allowed on campus during the day.


So yeah. But then again, if people had done their jobs right, she wouldn't need one.
 
2012-08-14 07:45:27 PM
This whole situation is really farked up, but what makes it even worse (and nobody seems to be picking up on) is the bit at the end where the airline ignored their complaints until the media got involved. I'm getting sick of companies who only pretend to give a shiat about customer service when their reputations are threatened. I know it's obvious that executives don't care about their customers beyond how much money they're spending on their products and services, but this is just pathetic.
 
2012-08-14 07:51:39 PM

cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.


Deal with it


Wow.... pathetic.
 
2012-08-14 08:01:40 PM
My niece just traveled across the country solo for the first time at age eleven, on Virgin America.

They have rules that stated that I had to remain with her at the gate until the plane was in the air. They also had a flight attendant assigned to update us on status until they were on the plane, and then her duties were to see to her needs, including all the free food and drink that she could handle. She would be met by her father at the gate on the other end (note that both of use were allowed through security with airline-given paperwork so that we could wait at the gates).

The only thing that I would change would be to have someone actually tell me when the plane was in the air. I had to wait at the gate alone for half an hour until I was the plane take off. Fortunately Logan only had two Virgin America gates, and the next flight was two hours later.

In short, some airlines handle things better. Odds are Virgin America handles most things better than United.
 
2012-08-14 08:03:03 PM
Sounds like there are a lot of insensitive peoples in India. UK should have cleaned like the place like spain cleaned south america
 
2012-08-14 08:25:09 PM

hogans: Odds are Virgin America handles most things better than United.


Virgin handles everything better than United.
 
2012-08-14 08:37:11 PM

scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone. I barely trust these farkers to get my luggage to the same place, much less a live human being.


Ummm, yes.

Who the fark are these "parents"?

/ and... typical behaviour of people who have little fear of ever losing their jobs due to poor performance.
 
2012-08-14 08:59:58 PM

Warthog: A long, derpy battle about this started on Flyertalk's United forum yesterday. It amazes me that there still exist United Airlines apologists, given how much that airline has gone into the tank in the past year.

That said, some of them do make a valid point -- the airline never actually lost the kid; instead they simply told the kid to sit down and be quiet at the gate waiting for the unaccompanied minor folks to help her to her new flight (which they eventually did), but that this made her late. Also they lost her bag, which is the new normal on UA. But there is no suggestion she ever went for a period with no airline-employed adult there watching her. Instead it is that those people were their typical, ORD less-than-useful selves.


In ORD right now on another United-sponsored 3+ hour delay. Operations needs to get their shiat together here--far too many delays and cancellations lately.
 
2012-08-14 09:14:14 PM

Persnickety: CliChe Guevara: scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone.

I don't let my son fly alone at that age either, first because he isn't certified, but secondly I don't think he is capable of handing tricky landings or keeping a cool head at the controls in an emergency. By the time he is 16 I damn well expect he will be.

I certainly let him ride on a damn commercial jet though.

If you don't feel your 10 year old can, then you need to possibly reevaluate your parenting. Kids at 10 many places are responsibly doing a hell of a lot of things daily that you probably are afraid to even do yourself.

This. Hell, back when I was 10 years old I remember getting on my bike and riding all the way over to my friend's house across town, totally without any parental involvement at all! What shiatty parents I must have had.

Farkers are the first to call out stupid helicopter parenting but then are the first to turn around and advocate for exactly the same thing. Fark, Where Parents Are Always WrongTM


There is a huge difference between helicopter parenting and letting your kids go half way across the country unsupervised. Letting a 10 year old ride their bike near busy streets is one thing. Letting them fly across country alone is bad parenting.
 
2012-08-14 09:24:09 PM

Warlordtrooper: There is a huge difference between helicopter parenting and letting your kids go half way across the country unsupervised. Letting a 10 year old ride their bike near busy streets is one thing. Letting them fly across country alone is bad parenting.


Not really, they're actually in more danger on the bike.
 
2012-08-14 09:36:29 PM
United is the worst airline I've ever flown.

This site is nice though.
 
2012-08-14 10:09:50 PM
I loved that classy, slick TV commercial United Airlines was airing during the Olympics.
It's as if United thinks the American public can be persuaded that United is still a respectable, top-tier business. Obviously it is not.
 
2012-08-14 11:15:44 PM

dletter: WhyteRaven74: cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.

Yes lets blame everything bad on unions and not companies who treat customer service as annoyance.

I guess that is getting to the "culture" of the company. Because, in this case, we have a very specific thing as far as "why" she wasn't picked up ("Uh, I forgot")..... then, you have the customer service people who didn't seem to give enough care to the fact that they were put in "charge" of a 10 year old, and apparently she wasn't where she was supposed to be.

Any one of those people acting that way could be chalked up to "that person had a bad day, is a dick, etc"... multiple people acting in this way though shows some sort of company policy of "cannot deviate" from the rules.... ie, the person who says "My shift is ending" to the person pleading to know where their daughter is... is that just being a dick, or is it because there are some sort of draconian strict policies of how/when you can do your job. The guy who forgot, who knows, and it appears isn't really a direct employee of the airline. In any case, it comes down to a large group of people who don't have enough pride in their company/jobs to give a shiat. Is that bad company hiring practices, or a bad environment grooming the employees that way?


And that's the crux of the matter.
 
2012-08-14 11:25:46 PM

shower_in_my_socks: Back in the 80s my mom and I took a cross country flight -- I was maybe 8 at the time. She and I sat next to each other the whole way, played card games, etc. The flight attendants were super nice to me -- gave me a set of plastic pilot's wings, gave me a tour of the cockpit during the flight (a pre-9/11 world) and I got to meet the pilots. My mom and I thought it was great that they were being so cool to me.

When we landed, the flight attendants came to "get me." My mom explained we were flying together -- that she was my mom. Like "Do you think I'm the nicest lady in the world, playing cards with a strange kid for five hours?" The flight attendants freaked the fark out. Apparently they knew there was a kid flying alone on the flight, and they thought I was that kid. So some poor little kid was on a flight full of strangers, and by that time probably wandering around the terminal.

So based on this article and my 25 year-old anecdote, this shiat happens all the time.

/csb


Was your mom a different race from you?
 
2012-08-14 11:28:56 PM

poodebunker: Jeez that's nuts. Back in 2002 my husband drove to California on business and decided to stay a few extra days and had me put our 10 year old daughter on a plane so he could take her to Disneyland over the weekend. Southwest Airlines had a policy requiring me to remain at the departing gate for 45 minutes after her plane took off. From Las Vegas it's barely an hour flight. When she arrived in California they escorted my husband inside the plane to collect his daughter. They even made her verify that, "yes that's my dad" before she could leave the plane.


That last is not nuts at all. That's being protective of your younger customers.
As long as they treat all kids and adults equally when doing that.
 
2012-08-14 11:46:03 PM

dletter: scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone. I barely trust these farkers to get my luggage to the same place, much less a live human being.

Basically this.

I don't care how great that summer camp is, she isn't going by herself to some summer camp across the country until at least H.S.


Ha! I used to fly to SFO to visit my friend in Santa Rosa all the time, at the tender age of 9. I got there with my luggage every single time.

Of course, that was in the Olden Days when my friend and her family could meet me at the gate. I'm not sure it would work as well today.
 
2012-08-15 12:14:10 AM

Farkin_Crazy: What parent in their right mind lets a 10 year old fly unattended across the country?


*raises hand* For single parents, flying your child as an unaccompanied minor can be a godsend. My daughter enjoys it and it has always worked perfectly. We try to keep it to direct flights though.
 
2012-08-15 12:15:41 AM

Gyrfalcon: dletter: scottydoesntknow: There's no way in hell I would let my 10-year-old daughter fly alone. I barely trust these farkers to get my luggage to the same place, much less a live human being.

Basically this.

I don't care how great that summer camp is, she isn't going by herself to some summer camp across the country until at least H.S.

Ha! I used to fly to SFO to visit my friend in Santa Rosa all the time, at the tender age of 9. I got there with my luggage every single time.

Of course, that was in the Olden Days when my friend and her family could meet me at the gate. I'm not sure it would work as well today.


Still possible if you work it out with the airline in advance.
 
2012-08-15 01:15:23 AM

dletter: WhyteRaven74: cman: You wanted union rules, you got union rules.

Yes lets blame everything bad on unions and not companies who treat customer service as annoyance.

I guess that is getting to the "culture" of the company. Because, in this case, we have a very specific thing as far as "why" she wasn't picked up ("Uh, I forgot")..... then, you have the customer service people who didn't seem to give enough care to the fact that they were put in "charge" of a 10 year old, and apparently she wasn't where she was supposed to be.

Any one of those people acting that way could be chalked up to "that person had a bad day, is a dick, etc"... multiple people acting in this way though shows some sort of company policy of "cannot deviate" from the rules.... ie, the person who says "My shift is ending" to the person pleading to know where their daughter is... is that just being a dick, or is it because there are some sort of draconian strict policies of how/when you can do your job. The guy who forgot, who knows, and it appears isn't really a direct employee of the airline. In any case, it comes down to a large group of people who don't have enough pride in their company/jobs to give a shiat. Is that bad company hiring practices, or a bad environment grooming the employees that way?


That's from short-staffing and outsourcing -- things you get after you kill the unions. They're pretty well maimed right now. The "culture" you're seeing (everywhere, it seems) is employees who have no reason to feel committed to a company because the company has shown it is not committed to them

Also, the person who said she was going off-shift actually did find the child
 
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