Lucky for me, I live within driving distance of my family and most close friends, because the idea of flying with my kids or worse yet, putting them on a plane by themselves gives me the nervous sweats.
I know that’s the reality for plenty of families, though, and there are kids who are far, far more seasoned travelers than I’ll ever be. But even the most travel-savvy kid and cautious parent is no match for an incompetent airline.
Case in point: this story on Consumerist. Jonathan put his ten-year-old daughter on a plane in Boston to visit her grandparents in Cleveland. He paid the “unaccompanied minors” fee, which is supposed to guarantee that airline staff would look out for the girl until she was delivered safely into the hands of her waiting grandparents.
That didn’t happen. She somehow got onto a flight that was boarding at the same gate for Newark, and no one discovered it until her grandparents watched everyone but her come off the flight they were waiting for and called her father to find out why she wasn’t on the plane.
I’m a little unsure how she was able to get on the wrong flight if her father was there watching her board, but if it was the same jetway or if they walked out onto the tarmac and boarded via steps, I could see how that happened.
It gets better. The family finally figured out where the girl was when a Continental representative called the grandparents (whose number was listed on her paperwork) and informed them they could some pick her up. In Newark. No one called the father until the grandparents did.
The story doesn’t say how the poor girl finally got to her grandparents, but it does say the only resolution Continental has offered far is to refund the unaccompanied minor fee.