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Delta / unaccompanied minors

1 Cincinnati, OH, United States
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My two nephews, ages 15 and 11, were flying from Cedar Rapids, IA to Hartford Ct through Cincinnati to visit their aunt (my sister). It was their second year flying Delta on this trip as unaccompanied minors. My family flies Delta exclusively many, many times a year. My sister booked their flight online and somehow a mistake was made and the tickets went through with the kids listed as adults, not unaccompanied minors (here's a tip-- you CANNOT book unaccompanied minors online, though they say you can, agents confirmed this is a LIE. You have to call in, then they charge you more for calling in. SCAM!). When my brother in law went to drop them off and they realized they were minors he had to pay $200-- fine, except that the unaccompanied minor flights on all the other airlines were way cheaper. So, my sister called Delta and received horrible customer service. My sister is attorney-- not someone to mess with. So, she reported them to the BBB and wrote a letter to the company. Whatever, we moved on. Well, after a week vacation my sister (aunt) took the boys to the Hartford airport for their return home and was informed that they couldn't fly because the flight from Cincinnati to Cedar Rapids was the last of the day and unaccompanied minors are not allowed on the last flight of the day. Well, why didn't anyone notice that at the airport in CR? This WAS Delta's fault, unlike the online ticketing which they managed to blame completely on my sister. Well, my sister in Hartford (the boy's aunt) was able to talk the boys onto the flight by switching the older one to adult status and promising that I would be there to get the younger one (I happen to live in Cincinnati). So, I had to drive 45 minutes to the airport and go to the counter and beg my younger nephew's way on the flight. I spoke to a VERY nice young lady and her manager who were able to fix the problem, but not without 1 hour of me waiting, not knowing what would happen. The boy's mother was LIVID, she was considering pressing charges against Delta for custodial interference, which I mentioned at the counter. Well, they finally told me I could go down, meet the boy's incoming flight, then wait with them for their flight to Cedar Rapids. Of course the flight was delayed due to weather problems in Atlanta and the boys and I ended up sitting in the Cincinnati airport for 4 hours, which was ok because I got to hang out with them. However, the problem wasn't over-- I spoke to the agent at the counter where they got off the plane and explained to her that my younger nephew would be going on, and I wanted to make sure his luggage would, too. She said it would. I then told them they needed to make sure their dad was listed as receiving them in Iowa, because with all the changes I was worried that got changed, too. I then repeated this to ANOTHER agent at the next counter. Well, the boys did get to Iowa, eventually, but of course the luggage didn't, and my brother in law wasn't listed to pick them up (yet they let him-- nice, what if there was a custody issue or something? $200 for what? They "watched" an 11 year old on the plane-- I watched him in cincinnati, I put him on the plane). In the end, the boy's luggage made it. However, the amount of money we are out for gas, parking, food, unaccompanied fee, long distance calls between all of us, etc is gone. I would recommend that Delta really look at this policy and the safety issues involved. I would also recommend that if you have unaccompanied minors you look for another airline for the kid's safety and your mental well being.

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