- Barry BiffleChief Executive Officer
Ask Frontier Airlines to Safeguard Unaccompanied Minors
Last summer, my 15 year-old visually impaired and mildly autistic son, who has a host of other medical conditions, was traveling alone by air for the first time. I wasn’t able to accompany him, as tickets were expensive and I was required at home. I was both nervous and excited -- nervous because it would be his first trip alone, but excited because he was going to a camp he had been wanting to attend for years, and I felt he was ready and knew he would have a good time.
I booked him on Frontier Airlines because it was the only airline offering a direct flight from our local airport, which I thought would help us avoid any potential problems by eliminating the need for a connection. Although he was old enough to be considered independent according to airline policy, I paid the extra fees to have him cared for as an unaccompanied minor, because I was afraid he might have trouble navigating the airports alone, and would not know what to do if something went wrong.
The nightmare began on the trip home, when my son's flight was canceled for unknown reasons as he was waiting at the gate, just 45 minutes before takeoff. All Frontier did to help him was to hand him his luggage and a list of hotels in the area. Worst of all, the replacement flight they booked him on was not for two days!
Luckily, camp staff were able to care for him the first night, but I was shocked that Frontier refused to put him on their flight scheduled for the following day. They said only that it was "booked," and refused to put him on a different flight on another airline.
This is not ok. I paid extra to be sure that my son would be looked after, regardless of the issue, and Frontier treated him as if he were an able-bodied adult traveler and left him to fend for himself when an issue arose. After lots of complaining, they reimbursed me for our “trouble,” but I want to make sure this never happens to another child. Please join me in asking CEO Barry Biffle to commit to new unaccompanied minor safeguards and policies so that this will never happen again.
After several stressful hours of frantically searching for flights, I got lucky and found him a flight home on another airline, with absolutely no help from Frontier. I have to wonder what we would have done if the camp hadn't been able to care for him an extra night, or if we hadn't been able to find him a flight the next day, or if he had been a much younger child. Would they just have given that stranded child a hotel list?
Children traveling as unaccompanied minors should be given the highest priority when flight disruptions occur. Ask Frontier to put policies in place that will ensure the safety of children in their care, so that no other child, or parent, has to go through something like this again. Although my son eventually made it home safely, another family might not be so fortunate.
- Chief Executive Officer
Children traveling as unaccompanied minors should be given the highest priority when flight disruptions occur. Frontier needs to put policies in place that will ensure the safety of children in their care, including receiving priority booking over other passengers.
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