Another Family Says United Stranded Their Unaccompanied Minor At Airport

Image courtesy of (Adam Fagen)

Just a week United Airlines was accused of dropping the ball in escorting an unaccompanied minor on a flight, a Virginia family says the airline was at it again, stranding their 13-year-old son in New York, despite paying an extra $300 to ensure he was accompanied at all times. 

KGW TV reports that the teen, who was traveling back to the Washington, D.C, area after visiting his mother over Christmas, was taken off a flight from New York to Dulles International Airport in Virginia this week and left to fend for himself at the Albany Airport.

The boy’s brother, who is his legal guardian, says that because of a weight-balance issue the airline decided to remove a few people from the Tuesday evening flight.

When the teen was chosen to deplane, he texted his brother, who instructed him to stay on the plane as he had a protected seat.

However, the airline still removed the teen. The man then called the airport, noting that gate staff didn’t know the teen was unaccompanied.

“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,” he says.

The man says he also called his brother to see if someone around him could help, however, there was no one and instead he worked to calm the teen down.

“I figured hopefully I could talk to somebody. That’s why I called him and then it just went into calming him down and letting him know it’s going to be okay,” he recalls. “That it’s not his fault. He didn’t do anything wrong. This is totally on United. He doesn’t need to be upset.”

In the end, the man’s wife drove from Virginia to Albany to pick up the teen, not trusting the airline to get him home safely.

A United rep apologized for the incident in a statement to KGW.

“We apologize to the [family] 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 said.

Additionally, the man says that the airline has agreed to refund $150 of the unaccompanied minor fee and travel expenses his wife incurred. Last Monday, a Des Moines couple said their daughter was left unattended after a flight to visit her grandparents in Texas.

In September, JetBlue apparently confused two five-year-old boys flying unaccompanied, putting the boy who was supposed to go New York City on a flight to Boston, and a boy meant for Boston on a plane to New York City.

The following month, the mother of one of the boys sued the airline, which is trying to get the case dropped.

In February, the mother of an 11-year-old girl traveling from New York to North Carolina said the airline failed to notify her that the girl’s flight was diverted to South Carolina.

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