A 12-year-old unaccompanied child was allegedly sent to the incorrect state by American Airlines when a telephone bookings agent scheduled the boy’s flight to Columbus, Georgia instead of Columbus, Ohio.
After spending some time with the boy’s mother in Dallas on June 7, the boy’s father, Daniel Patton, went to pick up his kid at the airport but found that he was not there.
After calling American Airlines, Patton claims agents in Ohio found his son and reboarded a trip to Dallas, where he could connect with a different route to Georgia. The 12-year-old youngster boarded the proper flight after a five-hour layover in Dallas, arriving home nearly 12 hours late.
Because it was an ‘unaccompanied minor’ service, Patton thinks the error only occurred because he had to call AA’s reservation department to book the ticket rather than doing so online.
It’s upsetting since I already found the right airfare, but I couldn’t book the flight online because parents can’t buy their own tickets, Patton said.
Instead, he asked the agent to confirm that Colombus, Georgia, rather than its counterpart in Ohio, had been listed on the ticket. The ticket had supposedly been correctly booked, according to the agent.
American Airlines provides its “unaccompanied minor” or “UM” service for a cost to children under the age of 18 who are traveling alone. Patton claims that in addition to the $250 ticket, he also paid AA an extra $150 for the UM service.
“Mistakes happen but when they drop the ball it’s a big deal especially when you already take the agency and liability away from parents when making the booking,” Patton said. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he has vowed not to use AA in the future.
When flight attendants allegedly “lost” an unaccompanied 12-year-old girl at Miami International Airport after waving off an approaching escort without a chaperone in July, American Airlines made headlines.
Unaccompanied minors are supposed to be taken to their parents or guardians after leaving the aircraft, but for some reason, the flight attendants overlooked the presence of a UM. To be easily recognized, UMs are identified by the large lanyard they wear around their necks.
After that incident, a spokesperson for American Airlines said the carrier “cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them.”
Following Patton’s encounter, the airline apologized through email and returned the fare. AA has not made any remarks about the event in the media.