Ok, here’s a crazy idea: if you’re an airline, and you have a form with room to list two adults who are authorized to pick up an unaccompanied minor, wouldn’t it make sense to have room for both names in your computer system? Because whoever is running Frontier Airline’s system doesn’t seem to think so! Kayla’s mother spent a frantic hour, IDs in hand, trying to prove that she was authorized to meet her 13-year-old daughter at the gate. The form accompanying her daughter clearly had both her and Kayla’s father listed, but the computer listed only the father’s name. While Frontier sorted out the confusion, Kayla spent an hour waiting in Denver Airport’s security room.
Our tipster writes:
My 13 year old daughter Taylor’s best friend Kayla moved to Colorado last year. As Taylor and Kayla were saying their goodbyes we told them we would have Kayla out for a visit someday.
So this summer Kayla’s parents arranged for Kayla to come visit my Daughter here in California for a week in June. Kayla’s parents flew her out via Frontier airlines and paid the extra $100 unaccompanied minor fee. My wife picked Kayla up from the airport without a hitch and everything was fine.
Fast forward to the day of the return trip a week later.
Kayla’s flight was scheduled to leave from San Diego at 2:59PM. I called Frontier Airlines around 11:00 AM to make sure the flight was on time and to see how early we needed to arrive at the airport and to verify her reservation. While talking to the agent I found out that even though Kayla’s mother had put me on the list of people authorized to receive a gate pass so I could walk Kayla to her departure gate, I was not showing up in Frontiers computer system. After a few phone calls to Kayla’s Mother and to Frontier we straightened this out and I was placed on the approval list in Frontiers System.
We showed up 2 hours early to the airport for her flight. While checking Kayla in I was required to fill out Frontiers standard unaccompanied minor request for carriage form which contains all the contact information on who is dropping the minor off and who will be picking the minor up from the destination airport. The form was filled out completely with both kaylas mother and father being the recipients. Kayla bags were checked in and I was given a gate pass.
After waiting an hour and a half at the departure gate the same ticket agent that checked us in called Kayla’s name to board early. We walked up to the gate and gave the agent the paperwork we had along with the request for carriage form. The agent took the paperwork, said thank you and immediately turned and started walking down boarding ramp with Kayla. I stopped the agent and asked, “dont I get a receipt or anything?! ” The agent stopped and looked at the other agent at the gate. “I guess we could give him our copy” she said to the agent behind the check in counter. She then flipped through the FIVE duplicate pages on the form and pulled out a canary colored copy and gave it to me. I commented to her that I just gave her a very precious passenger and to be careful with her. I also told Kayla that if she was taken off the plane for any reason to immediately call me. I called Kayla’s mother and let her know that her daughter was on the flight and was on her way home and to call me as soon as she had Kayla in hand.
So fast forward 3 hours later and I get a call from Kaylas Mother. I was expecting to hear that she had Kayla but instead she asked who’s name I had filled out on the request for carriage form. She had been getting the run around at the Frontier check gate in Colorado. Even though she was the legal guardian and had the proper forms and I.D. Frontier would not let her have a gate pass to meet and pick up her daughter at the gate. When I talked to her she was frantic. I checked the receipt that I insisted the agent in San Diego give me. Her mother was listed first and then her Father.
So I called Frontier airlines and explained the situation. They told me that they didn’t know why her mother was not on the list but that her father was listed and there is only room in the system for one name. They said it was corrected and I called Kayla’s mother back to inform her. At this point the plane had been on the ground for some time and through text messages we found out Kayla was taken to a security station at the denver airport and placed in a holding room. It was about an hour before she was finally reunited with her mother.
In my opinion this is inexcusable. Not only did her mother have to pay an extra $100 unaccompanied minor charge to the airline, but the airline dropped the ball and didn’t get it right. They left a mother in a panic for an hour in a busy airport and scared the heck out of an innocent 13 year old girl by placing her in a security room. All the agents had to do is look at the request for carriage form that was with her.
I’m writing this because I think Frontier Airlines needs to carefully review and revise their procedures to insure that this never has to happen to another parent of child flying with them again. I think they also owe Kayla’s mother a refund for at least $100 for the unaccompanied minor fee and a huge apology .