Continental Takes 2nd Child To Wrong Airport

Yup, you read the title right. Continental has taken a second child, within a week, to the wrong airport. In both cases a subcontracted regional airline called Express Jet flying under the Continental brand was at fault. Houston Chronicle reports:

…both incidents occurred when flights with different destinations were loaded simultaneously from the same doorway and that “miscommunication among staff members resulted in the child being boarded on the wrong aircraft.”

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to blame the OP here. Truly experienced travelers know the best way to ensure your luggage arrives at the proper destination is to send it Fed-Ex. [Houston Chronicle]
PREVIOUSLY: Continental Puts 10-Year-Old Child On The Wrong Plane
(Photo: FlyGuy92586)

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  1. SnoopyFish says:

    “It’s gonna be so much fun Timmy. Daddy even cut a few holes in the box so you can peek out. It’s going to be just like your own fort. Ok… now get in.”
    …tapes up box…
    “Tell grandma hello for me. See you in a week”

  2. sonneillon says:

    How the hell does this happen twice in such a short period of time?

    You’d think they would have sent a memo or some such, this is a mess. Maybe a healthy round of firings will get the message across.

    • Taed says:

      @sonneillon: Perhaps it actually happens all the time and these are just two of the many that got some exposure on the InterWeb.

      • Matthew Berkhan says:

        @Taed: That’s where my money is. Anytime you see in a headline that this is the xth time something happened I say there’s a 70% chance the newspaper only considers it news because the initial story was popular, and they want to get in on that.

      • mariospants says:

        @Taed: I agree: I’ll bet this happens a lot more frequently than one would believe and it’s only thanks to sites like Consumerist and personal blogs that this is finally getting some attention. I’m certain there’s a holding area in O’Hare where all of the lost children are kept.

        Or it could all be a coincidence and Continental is freaking the hell out right now. “Continental: the airline that loses kids” just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

    • Skaperen says:

      So Continental doesn’t actually check if the ticket is for the airplane being boarded?@sonneillon: They’re still trying to find someone in the office that knows how to write memos.

      • oloranya says:

        @Skaperen: The problem is that they’re boarding two planes via the same gate. The impression I get is that in both cases, you had one gate for two planes, with a ramp that split somewhere AFTER tickets were checked, and no one checked the kids ticket after she was on the plane and -apparently – the people on the plane she was supposed to be on didn’t notice her absence. I can see how this could happen, what I can’t see is how it wouldn’t be noticed and corrected immediately.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @sonneillon: Simple: volume discount.

    • ospreyguy says:

      @sonneillon: When I was 11 I flew from New Mexico to Jacksonville Florida with a transfer in Houston. I had traveled a lot with my parents and for some reason when CONTINENTAL (yeah…) tried to put me on a plane to Jackson Illinois I (again an 11 year old) had to tell them, “um that’s the wrong flight.” I was half way down the jetway before they even listened to me. I got the stupid kid look a couple dozen times before they actually looked at my ticket… When you put a cart driver who hasn’t passed high school in charge of a child’s safty you can see how shit like this happens. Still pisses me off.

    • U-235 says:

      @sonneillon: Everyone knows that children get mistakenly flown to the wrong airports in threes.

    • ChristopherDavis says:

      @sonneillon: According to the article this incident actually happened first, but wasn’t publicized until after the second one got attention.

    • oneandone says:

      @sonneillon: How the hell does this happen twice in such a short period of time?

      Most schools are out = more children flying on their own around theountry = greater chance of a child being put on the wrong flight?

      Maybe there’s some sort of child-wrong-flight constant, and the bump in number of flying children makes it more apparent.

  3. TripleTheOrder_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I think it’s important to note that:

    The two Continental Express flights were operated by ExpressJet under contract with Continental.

    Someone needs to have a stern talking to with this company and possibly make them feel the lesson financially. Even though it’s a separate company, they should still be able to handle a child. Of course, this doesn’t absolve Continental from responsibility as just like my boss is responsible for his subs work, so are they.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @TripleTheOrder_GitEmSteveDave: Well, in that case, they should probably cut this contract and run these flights as mainline until they can get another regional operator to take over…

      • Rachacha says:

        @jamar0303: losing a child….crashing a plane….losing a child…crashing a plane. While official blame has not yet been placed in the Buffalo, NY crash of another Continental Commuter plane, I believe the evidence is pointing to Pilot error and lack of suficient training. Worth noting that the Continental crash was with a different contractor. Remind me never to fly with a Continental Contractor.

        • jamar0303 says:

          @Rachacha: Oh jeez, maybe they should dump the contract system altogether and just run this flight mainline if they really want to keep it going.

    • HiPwr says:

      @TripleTheOrder_GitEmSteveDave: I bet the gate staff were Continental employees and not sub-contractors.

    • superdantx says:

      @TripleTheOrder_GitEmSteveDave:

      XJT may run the flight, but it is still boarded by CAL gate agents…… Not saying that the XJT Flight attendant should have doublechecked the Minors document, but if it had the accurately wrong flight number, it would have seemed just fine. The real fault lies in the gate agent that escorted the Minors down to the aircraft, which in Boston and in Houston are both Continental Airlines employees. Don’t just throw blame on a contractor unless it is really the contractors fault. XJT is the best in the business as far as airline contractors.

  4. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Wow. Two more Continental flights with wrong head counts. Feeling safer yet?

  5. flynnfx says:

    This is actually a GOOD thing for Continental. Maybe they will finally get their heads out of their assess when they start losing a ton of business to this negative publicity.

    I’m pretty sure no sane parent will be letting their child fly Continental solo, basically, until hell freezes over.

    • Shoelace says:

      @flynnfx: I hope a competing airline airs ads about how they take care of you AND your kids, with clips showing airline personnel taking the basic steps needed to get kids on the right flight and safely to their destinations.

      It would be so great if SNL devoted a few minutes to Continental this Saturday night. Please SNL?

  6. razremytuxbuddy says:

    Well, at least Continental’s spokesperson emailed the media to say they take their responsibility to assist child travelers very seriously.

  7. coren says:

    So much for “this is a rarity” and “won’t happen again anytime soon”

    Heh

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @coren: The way the second one came out (happened the next day, same lame compensation offer) makes me think that “this is a rarity” is really “we kept it out of the news every other time it happened.”

  8. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It shouldn’t make a difference but where does the Expressjet/Continental hand-off occur? At the airplane door? Is it Continental employees in the terminal and Expressjet staff/stewardesses on the plane?

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @IfThenElvis: If ExpressJet is handling the flight, then they are handling the gate as well.

      Most regional airports don’t coexist between Continental and a regional co-branded carrier. Only hubs (usually) have actual corporate gates and “express” gates.

    • Wombatish says:

      @IfThenElvis: When I flew as an unaccompanied minor (from about 7-13) the gate agent walked me down the gangway and handed me off to a flight attendant at the door of the plane. My little neck-hanger (that told where I was going and who was picking me up) was checked by the gate agent when my parents got to drop me off at the gate (pre 9/11) or when the airport staffer assigned to walk me through security and to the gate dropped me off…. or maybe they let my mom have a security pass, I don’t remember… (post 9/11), then by the ticket agent at the door of the gangway, then by the flight attendant at the door of the plane. All the flight attendant were really nice, and gave me extra drinks and snacks and some of those little plastic wings. When we landed I was told to wait until everyone had deplaned (or everyone but the Air Marshall post 9/11) and then my little hanger was checked again by the flight attendant, who walked me up the gangway and into the terminal. Whoever was picking me up was there (even post 9/11, they would make them come through security with a special pass), and once they did ask them for I.D., because I remember my Grandfather being kind of ticked off about it.

      This was all on American, though, since it’s where my dad had flight benefits, and most of it was pre 9/11. All the flights I’ve logged after 9/11 I was either accompanied (even if it was a large school group or something), old enough that even though I was technically unaccompanied minor they pretty much left me alone, or 18.

      Still… this should not have been even -able- to happen on Continental, unless their policies are just substandard to the extreme.

  9. ElizabethD says:

    Hey, the article says Continental is “taking it very seriously.” Quelle surprise!

    Also, gotta love this explanation: “miscommunication among staff members” is to blame. IOW, your gate people were asleep at the switch — twice in two days.

    • Shoelace says:

      @ElizabethD: I’m fuming at the same exact quotes.

      They were supposed to be “taking it very seriously” before these two incidents happened in order to prevent them from happening. Why should we believe them now?

      I hate it when ass-covering screwups use the ‘miscommunication’ buzzword to try to neutralize their disasters. So polite and professional sounding, even innocent – like they were trying so hard to do things right except there was a tiny mix-up and no one’s really to blame.

      NOT!

    • Skaperen says:

      @ElizabethD: I wondered where they had transferred those gatekeepers.

  10. wvFrugan says:

    I blame this on the almighty dollar/greed, squeeze every fuckin dollar for profit each quarter and screw the employees who actually provide service. This is what you get when you treat employees like enemies and subcontract anything possible to save a buck in the short run. Take care of your employees & they will actually take ownership of problems like this & help prevent them.

  11. zacwax says:

    I bet their PR people are shitting themselves.

  12. STrRedWolf says:

    Why isn’t there a single service with all airlines where the underaged kid is accompanied by a jet-setting yet trained young adult? That way, the kid isn’t “unaccompanied” and the adults have some insurance that they’ll get to the right destination. It’s obvious that the airlines can’t do it themselves (because every travel season, it’s some random airline that screws up and misplaces somebody) so just fund a third party employing some young college-age kids looking for a fun summer job, helping kids out while touring the US. Airfare paid for all trips, including the last one they’ll take back to *their* home, plus a stipend for tourism and food.

    • TripleTheOrder_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @STrRedWolf: I think they should be forced to wear a special vest which has a scrolling LED saying “I am going to ______” on it. It makes them easy to spot, and gives more than one set of eyes making sure they are on the right flight.

  13. Willmeister says:

    i bet continental is “taking this very seriously” HA!

  14. Sheogorath says:

    I remember, way back when, in the 90’s, I ALMOST got sent to Paris by an airport employee.

    Basically, I was young and a show off. And also about twelve. I had recently learned that, amusingly, there was a city named ‘Portland’ in Maine, when I lived in a town close to Portland, Oregon.

    Now, I was headed home from visting my grandparents in good ol’ Alabama and ready to board the second leg of my journey through Houston International. I was placed in the hands of what I remember as an almost stereotypically stereotypical slouching, acne-faced, disgruntled looking teenager. He proceeded to grunt something which I took to be ‘come with me’ after the Delta employee handed me off to him.

    We wound up halfway across the airport and, being a clever little bugger, I decided to ‘confirm’ that the plane I was about to board was headed for the right Portland.

    The conversation went something like this:

    Me: “So, this is headed to Portland, OREGON, right?”
    Gate attendant: “Eh?”
    Me: “Portland OREGON.”
    Gate attendant: “Uh, this plane is headed to Paris.”

    At that point the gate attendant was giving the airport fellow a rather stern glare. Fortunately this was pre-9/11 so nobody was hauled off by Homeland Security never to be seen again.

    The stereotypical teenager fellow then took off at a high-speed slouch to the right gate. Just in time, too. I almost missed my flight.

    • GinaLouise says:

      @Sheogorath: Aw, but imagine what young mini-Sheogorath could’ve seen in Paris!

      • Sheogorath says:

        @GinaLouise:
        I did end up going a few years later :P

        I recall that the first thing we saw after getting on the bus was a strip mall (pun intended) where every shop had some variation of “SEX SHOP” slapped on a billboard in neon-green. There were about a block of these.

    • econobiker says:

      @Sheogorath: No worse way to get egg on a face for a truck driver is to be in upstate NY when it is confirmed that his delivery is going to Portland – in Oregon…

      Related to me from some truck driver friends. Maybe an urban legend or maybe not…

  15. stopNgoBeau says:

    Might be interesting to point out that Express Jet used to fly their own branded flights under the same name as well as being co-branded as Continental Express. They went bankrupt sometime late last year. Very unfortunate, since they had several convenient regional flights out of my local airport.

  16. H3ion says:

    This is almost unbelievable. I don’t fault Continental (except for selecting Express Jet as a partner) but the bozos who are working for Express Jet need some serious fines or training or something. Yeah, FedEx can lose a package but how the hell do you lose a kid?

  17. subsider34 says:

    Yay! Houston’s in the news! …Oh, wait.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      @subsider34: I think Houston is treated as the preverbial red-headed-stepchild of the super large cities.

      Dallas is Marsha Brady.

      Dallas dallas dallas!

      /Not bitter.

  18. Michael Belisle says:

    The FedEx reference made me think of this in terms of the Sprint “What if Delivery People Ran the World?” ad.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Michael Belisle: Apparently, if Continental ran the world, the missing student would have gone unnoticed.

    • HiPwr says:

      @Michael Belisle: That ad bothers me. Class is in session, but they send the errant child “straight to detention?” Why don’t they send him to class?

      • Laura Northrup says:

        @HiPwr: My middle school did this. It was called In-School Suspension. You’d get sent to a room with blank walls and no windows, and all of your class and homework assignments. They’d do that instead of actually suspending people. All day.

        I was sent once, when I did something my science teacher didn’t like and she didn’t want to look at me anymore.

        • HiPwr says:

          @Laura Northrup: You didn’t have a caterpillar in there with you, did you?

          [www.newsweek.com]

        • HogwartsAlum says:

          @Laura Northrup:

          LOL! We had that too. I had trouble with math so they put me in the room instead of in class for that hour, so I could work on it undisturbed and I always got to see who was in ISS that day.

          Then I would get grilled when I came out. “Who is it? What’d they do?”

          • Ragman says:

            @HogwartsAlum: My high school started ISS when I was there. We figured it was b/c sending you home on suspension was exactly that – a day off of school at home. Sleep late and watch tv.

  19. spongebue says:

    Ok, I had this job in Minneapolis while working for Northwest last summer. While this can (and has) happened, it’s incredibly rare. On an average summer day last year, we’d have about 250 unaccompanied minors.

    First off, the kids are given wristbands with their final destinations written in a sharpie (the kind that you need a scissors to remove). In the ~10 years that we did this internally, I believe there were 2 kids put on the wrong plane from Minneapolis. One was last year; the flight was wrong, but the destination was the same. Normally, putting a kid on the wrong plane is grounds for immediate firing, but because it was an easy mistake with relatively little harm done, it was more of a lesson learned the easy way for everyone.

    The other time I know of where a kid was placed on the wrong plane was a mix of bad events. The main part of the problem was when a kid didn’t want to go to her final destination for whatever reason. Instead, she was able to trick a younger child into saying she was the older kid (that didn’t want to go). Unfortunately, the trick worked, and the younger kid was put on the older kid’s flight. The employee was fired, but later brought back after things came about.

    That said, stories like this are still unacceptable. A few little things can go a looooong ways. For example, we’d usually board the kid before even the general preboarding. When at the plane, we’d introduce the kid(s) to the flight attendant. Simply saying “this is Johnny flying to Kansas City with you” not only ensures the destination is correct, but that you have the correct kid (sometimes we’d have multiple kids being brought to different flights at nearby gates).

    Do mistakes happen with this? Sure, but so do crashes. Are they common? Not really, I’d be more concerned about lost luggage. Are they excusable? Not usually. Most importantly: would I trust my own kids (if I had them) to an airline with a program like what I worked under? Absolutely. I do know that it will be different after the Delta merger; half of my time working was dedicated to UM running and they’re giving that task to different people, but still: when you consider the fact that the kids aren’t really harmed and the odds of this happening is highly unlikely, it’s a small risk. Sorry for the essay of a post, but I’m happy to answer questions that I may have missed.

    • OneTrickPony says:

      @spongebue: Thanks for the perspective. I agree with everyone that this is a matter to be taken “very seriously.” However, as a parent, I also recognize that in the grand scheme of things, a kid being put on the wrong plane but remaining in the airline’s custody and eventually getting where they need to be a few hours late represents no real threat to their well-being.

      I find it more troubling, for example, that in my district kids of an age who cannot be legally left unsupervised for any period of time (4-7) are routinely dismissed early for “emergency” reasons (power outage, water main breakage), with no way of knowing whether the kids’ parents have received notification and will be available to meet them at home when they get off the bus!

      • mmmsoap says:

        @OneTrickPony:

        However, as a parent, I also recognize that in the grand scheme of things, a kid being put on the wrong plane but remaining in the airline’s custody and eventually getting where they need to be a few hours late represents no real threat to their well-being.

        Well, yes and no. While the kid may have remained in the airline’s custody, I find it incredibly troubling that the specific people/flight who were to have the kid didn’t realize he/she was missing. Because who’s to say that someone didn’t walk off with the kid? As far as I’m concerned, it’s a blessing that it was only a wrong flight.

      • mythago says:

        @OneTrickPony: Whatever you may find “more troubling”, as a parent, I recognize that this DOES represent a threat to the child’s well-being. Because it means that the airline is not following any kind of standard procedure and probably isn’t listening to a child saying “No, I’m supposed to to to Atlanta, not San Diego”. Much less bothering to confirm that the guy saying “Oh, yeah, I’m her father come to pick her up” really is.

        • spongebue says:

          @mythago: If a kid says they’re going somewhere else, you better believe we pay attention. Nobody wants to send a kid to the wrong place. Usually, if anything, it’s a case of “yes, you are going to Traverse City, but first we need to take you to Detroit to take a different plane there, just like you came here from North Dakota to take a different plane” (though multiple connections aren’t too frequent).

          Also, while flight attendants are usually the ones that do the official transfer to whoever is picking them up (there are exceptions), we ALWAYS check IDs. Even making sure the address of the person given in the forms matches with the ID. Even if the spouse of the planned person comes, same last name and everything, we need the person dropping them off to fax an authorization for this different person. Because of that, it’s recommended to list multiple names for the kid’s paperwork.

          • mythago says:

            @spongebue: Apparently you do not work for Continental or Express Jet?

            • spongebue says:

              @mythago: Nope, but like I said… I did do this for Northwest, so I have more than assumptions. There can be issues like that, but they are VERY few and far between. Then again, I don’t know how Continental’s program works. I guess I hate to see this aspect of the entire airline industry getting a bad name because one company (or contractor, whatever) got unlucky twice in a week.

  20. Skaperen says:

    So Continental doesn’t actually check if the ticket is for the airplane being boarded? If a child can get on the other plane, what about an adult?

    • ideagirl says:

      @Skaperen: I think that is what taking our shoes off at security is supposed to accomplish /sarcasm

    • ganmerlad says:

      @Skaperen:
      There used to be a time when you would safety pin the address/destination (in big letters) on the child. I say, “Bring back the old ways!”

      Usually when I get on a plane, they insist on seeing my ticket end, but perhaps that is just so they know to keep an eye on me till I am past first and business class.

  21. Garbanzo says:

    How is this possible, since Continental took the first occurrence seriously?

    • Sheila Cook says:

      @Garbanzo: *snort*

    • scoosdad says:

      @Garbanzo: Because this new incident actually happened before the previous story. So we have a disruption of the space-time continuum, and there’s no way they could have taken this one seriously because of the other one… oh never mind.

      The first one happened on Sunday the 14th, and this new instance happened on Saturdy the 13th.

  22. bilge says:

    When I was in college (early ’90s), I once made it through the entire finals week on maybe five hours of sleep and made it down to the airport to get on my US Airways flight to St. Louis. In my mostly asleep state, I didn’t notice that there’d been a last minute gate change so I stumbled down to what I thought was my gate and handed my boarding pass to the gate staff. They scanned it a few times as the machine wouldn’t accept it and then just waved me on board with a “Just find an empty seat.” There were enough empty seats that I just settled in and fell asleep before the plane even left the gate. The annoying part wasn’t that I woke up in Phoenix, it was that to get me to St. Louis they had to first send me all the way back to Philadelphia.

  23. jigwashere says:

    Where was the mom or dad in all this? If I were sending my child on a flight, unaccompanied, I would take my child to the gate and make sure they got on the correct flight myself. The kids didn’t get to the airports by themselves. Did their parent just leave them at the check-in counter? When my in-laws flew to Florida last month, I took them to the airport and got a gate pass so I could help them to their flight. I know they got on the correct flight — I was there.

    • OneTrickPony says:

      @jigwashere: Read the stories. Both kids were boarding at regional gates, and there were two puddlejumpers being boarded at the same time through a single gate. So the parents are at the gate, watching their kids pass through the correct Door through which None Shall Pass and onto the tarmac. It was after that point that hijinks…er…confusion ensued.

  24. takes_so_little says:

    Sounds like they’re trying to cheap out on the second family… which is what they initially tried to do with the first family. This is not something you try to cheap out of, FUCK CONTINENTAL. It’s not just the mistake, but then the subsequent attempt to get off cheap, that makes me hate them very, very much.

  25. Rachacha says:

    I sence a remedial training filmstrip coming on:

    1) What is a Child – A Child is like an adult, only shorter. Children are usually shorter than adults, and usually have a backpack with some childhood character like Pokeman, Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty, Princesses, or the Waltons.
    -BEEP-
    2) A Child traveling alone on an aircraft is called an Unaccompanied Minor. This type of child can be identified by a tag around their neck.
    -BEEP-
    3) Unaccompanied Minors can not be expected to know where they are going. It is your responsibility to look on the tag around the neck of the child for their destination. Verify this destination with the clipboard located in cubby 4c of the airplane’s front galley. It may also be helpful to verify with the pilot where he intends to fly the plane.
    -BEEP-

    • takes_so_little says:

      @Rachacha: “3) Unaccompanied Minors can not be expected to know where they are going”

      …neither can employees of continental, apparently.

    • burnedout says:

      @Rachacha: The Waltons are indeed making a comeback with the younger set. Have you seen the Mary Ellen action figures?

      • Rachacha says:

        @burnedout: I haven’t. I was trying to think of a childhood character from the 1970s/1980s and all I could come up with was the Waltons because my mom forced me to use a Walton’s lunchbox when I was a kid…I am convinced that they enjoyed torturing me :-)

    • Baxterjones says:

      @Rachacha: I know the spelling error was unintentional, but “Pokeman” cracks me up. It does not sound like a character that’s safe for kids.

  26. TacoChuck says:

    I just flew from Detroit to Zurich on Air Canada. There was an unaccompanied minor on my flight flying to Germany, I think the kid was 13. No one was ‘escorting’ her, no on was walking her from place to place and handing her off to someone else. She had no identification that she was a UA and was basically relying on strangers to make sure she got where she was supposed to. I was flabbergasted. She wasn’t even very travel savvy and really had no idea what to do. It fell to me to help her through customs in Toronto where we were transiting. Last I saw her I sent her to the proper customs area (there are 2, one for transit people and one for exiting to Canada).

  27. grapedog says:

    When I was 11 I flew from Shannon Airport in Ireland to Logan in Boston no, alone, with no problems. YMMV…

  28. RStui says:

    As a parent to a child that flies 2-4 times a year by himself, this is very worrisome to me. Understanding the system and all the checks and balances in place to make sure this DOESN’T happen, it’s VERY disturbing that twice now it has.

    My son will not be flying Continental. Ever.

  29. burnedout says:

    This problem isn’t exclusive to Continental, and these issues are not as bad as they could be. You want to see some terrifying UM stories, go to untied.com and see the hell United has put children through. At least Continental got the kids on a plane…some of the highlights at United include leaving kids wandering alone at O’Hare or stranded alone at a hotel when their flights were canceled. One story of a mis-routed flight resulted in a kid(who was supposed to go to NY) being stranded in San Francisco where the gate agent told the kid she wasn’t her problem. I think the worst was the story about a kid who was dropped off at customs in Paris without a passport so she was arrested and detained. Seriously.

  30. yourbffjill says:

    I don’t understand how this happens as often as it does, both with these kids and with adults who happen to get on the wrong flight. Clearly the person taking tickets at the gate is not doing their job, or the scanner doesn’t work properly, or whatever. But I can’t even remember the last time I took a flight that wasn’t more than 3/4 full. Most of the flights I’ve been on in the last year have been overbooked. The odds would suggest that someone else is going to have the same seat assignment, and you’d think they’d figure out what’s going on then. Or at least that’s what my odds would suggest, I don’t actually know how full these flights are…

  31. Sheila Cook says:

    Honestly, if I had a kid and were sticking it on a flight, I would tape a large sign to their shirt with the city’s name they are traveling to and the flight #. And I’d make sure the kid knew to say I’M GOING TO [CITY] anytime anyone from the airline approached them.

    • mythago says:

      @Sheila Cook: Honestly, since you don’t have a kid, you may be utterly unaware of how little other people give a shit about children not their own, even when it is part of their job to give a shit. When you were a kid, did adults always listen carefully to what you had to say?

  32. greggen says:

    What I do not understand is how the airlines are not breaking federal regulations by allowing someone on a flight they do not have a ticket for, and another plane is allowed to leave the ground with one passenger unaccounted for.

    What kind of security is this that TWO flights can have incorrect manifests

    This airline should be shut down immediately

  33. vladthepaler says:

    They’re doing this intentionally. In a few weeks they’re going to roll out a new fee for an *unassisted* unaccompanied minor. Sure it’s more expensive than a regular unaccompanied minor, but it’s worth the extra cost because the average 8 year old is smart enough to read the destination sign and get on the right plane.

  34. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    can they PROMISE me this will happen if I send my kids?

  35. Michael Newton says:

    This probably does happen more than we hear about. I had juice spilled on me while they were serving me and they very promptly had a form so that I could receive 50$ towards dry cleaning. I’m sure they have a similar system in place for lost children, but the person on duty had run out and tried to smooth talk their way through it.

    I still can’t believe that it happens though. I get better service from greyhound buses, and I’m an adult. They take my ticket, read it, tear it, and ask me where I’m going. You’d think that would be a priority for a kid who might not even know the state he’s flying to.

  36. vastrightwing says:

    From now on I’m booking the cheapest ticket possible and then getting on any plane I want.

  37. humphrmi says:

    Back in the day, my parents were divorced, and their agreement required them to fly me and my brother across the country every summer and winter to visit my Dad. Back then, you didn’t pay a fee for an unaccompanied minor. Of course, fares were much higher then and everywhere we lived, we had a direct flight between my Mom’s house and my Dad (who lives in Chicago).

    So the rules back then were:

    1. Parent accompanies minor to the gate and makes sure they get on the right plane.

    2. Parent waits at flight arrival gate and makes sure they get off the plane.

    3. No fees, no babysitters, no excuses.

    BTW I’m not blaming the OP here – the point I’m making is, if the airlines want to charge fees for something that can still be done by the parent (despite 9/11 etc) then they damn well better be prepared to provide those services. And if they charge a babysitter fee for unaccomp. minors, they’d better be prepared to provide better trained babysitters. And if they don’t think that FA’s are babysitters, then they’d better either hire some, or stop charging a babysitting fee and just let the parents do it.

    • humphrmi says:

      @humphrmi: Oh and I realize that I’ve completely glossed over the topic of plane changes. Feh, the airline industry has changed since I was a kid, back then it was all (or at least mostly) direct flights, even to small airports.

  38. runswithscissors says:

    Geez, why’s everyone breathing down the airline’s neck on this? I thought Consumerist commenters had conclusively proven in the previous threads that this was all the fault of lazy no-good parents….?

    /Sarcasm

  39. UnnamedUser says:

    Maybe this is the right answer.

    [www.flickr.com]

    It could be worse. Eh?

  40. Waverly V Phillips says:

    Nice… 2 kids in such a short time frame. Maybe a nice lawsuit judgment will get their attention. The whole episode is starting to sound like one of those dumb Home Alone movies.

  41. Anonymous says:

    How about this. You quit having children and getting divorced a few years later. You idiots who take no responsibility for your own children and put them on a flight alone sitting next to a stranger. Maybe that stranger is a pedophile. You want it done right then pay for a ticket RT for yourself twice in order to ensure your child gets to his/her destination safely.

    Quit whining on here. Mistakes happen. People are human. When a mistake happens with a child that may be upsetting but it will happen. Airlines lose kids all the time. Not just ExpressJet in this instance. Yes the Flight Attendant should have done a better job ensuring the kid was on the right airplane. They are the last line of defense in this situation. The kids are dropped off and picked up and the aircraft door.

  42. Magpie724 says:

    I thought parents could come to the gate with their children? And I’m sorry isn’t a 10-year old smart enough to figure out that they are on the wrong plane/can’t flight attendants look at the dang tickets