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Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

Olympia
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Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

I made a reservation for travel from Seattle to Pensacola by way of Atlanta for a 13 year old & a 16 year old. I made the reservations on-line and had to put in their birth dates. No alerts came up on the Delta website; no pop-ups about unaccompanied minors; no indication that I needed to do anything else.

So I wait a week and about 5 days before the flight, I called Delta to confirm the information and ASK if there is anything I special I need to do. I spoke to a Delta rep who informed me that it would cost me $100 EACH WAY for the 13 year old. Great! Now I'm having to pay an extra $200 that I hadn't planned for an attendant to walk the kids to and from a holding area during their layover in Atlanta. The phone rep didn't even apologize for the hidden costs or explain why the website didn't trigger the info when I put in the birth dates.

Now here's the best part: The phone rep then made a point of reading through all the flight information and confirmed flight numbers AND TIMES. I asked if there was anything else I needed to do, and he told me we were good to go.

So on Monday early afternoon I show up at Seatac airport with the kids. While trying to check in, the rep informed me that she could not allow my daughter on the flight I'd booked as the flight out of Atlanta was the last flight of the day, and Delta does not allow unaccompanied minors on last flights of the day! Really?! If they don't allow it, then why doesn't the website prevent me from making the reservation? Why don't the rep that I CALL not tell me?! REALLY?!

The only flight the rep can book the kids on is THE NEXT MORNING AT 6:20 AM! AND we have to be at the airport absolutely NO LATER THAN 5 AM! WE LIVE AN HOUR AND 1/2 AWAY! I would have to get the kids up at 3 AM if we went back home. The timing and the hours of extra travel back and forth was too much! I felt that I had no choice but to book a hotel in Seatac. With the cost of food, hotel and parking, another $250 I had not planned on spending! Thanks Delta!!

And finally! The very nice Delta rep that told me the kids weren't allowed on the flight they were booked on apologized and suggested I write a complaint on the Delta website. Well I tried. The site seemed specifically designed to keep people from complaining. Lots of drop down boxes that seemed to steer away from my topic -- you're website sucks and your phone reps and untrained -- and towards "gosh, I don't know how to book a flight, would you please help me."

Delta was a nightmare from start to finish.

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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1. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

The automatic website had no way of knowing that your kids were flying without an adult. You very easily could have made an adult reservation before or after that of the children. They need to fly with an adult, they don't need to be on the same reservation.

The phone rep may or may not have made an error. He read what was on the screen. If it was starred or something as the last flight of the day--he doesn't know. There is no responsibility for a phone rep to have the whole Delta schedule memorized.

Is this the first time your kids flew as UM. You knew they were flying with that status and when Delta's site didn't acknowledge them you should have been proactive and looked at the website under UM. --or called and questioned earlier. I am also surprised that you expected Delta to take care of your kids for nothing. They don't have extra people hanging around just waiting for UMs to show up. BTW it isn't just walk them from one flight to another. That is what you WANT to happen. If there is a delay, a problem, the second flight cancelled etc. they will be with your children. THAT is what you are paying for

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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2. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

I do not think you would have had a different experience regardless of what airline you selected. All airlines have policies regarding unaccompanied minors, and I think most of them are similar to Delta's policy.

It is unfortunate that you were not aware of these rules, but the previous poster was correct. It is your affirmative obligation to know the rules.

It seems as if you did not plan to pay for an unaccompanied minor at all, and you were putting a 13 year old child and a 16 year old child on a transcontinental flight that was the last flight of the day. I would never do that with my own grandchildren. Too many things can happen that result in an over-night delay. Even if the airline did not have that rule, it seems as if you should.

The fee that you pay is actually insurance. Hopefully your children can just walk to their gate and catch their flights, but if something goes wrong.....a late flight, bad weather, mechanical issue then you need an adult with your children and that is what you pay for when you give them the $100.

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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3. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

Not defending Delta but the online reservation has a check box asking:

"The passenger is 14 or under, and agrees to the child travel guidelines and restrictions. "

One of the restrictions is:

"Travel is not permitted on the last connecting flight of the day"

The fee is:

"$100 USD / CAD / EUR each way"

They do not search birth dates to determine if a minor is traveling, you have to check the box.

Everything is on their website for you to make a reservation but you have to fill it out correctly and if you don't understand, read the info in the links they provide.

BTW, a little pop up window appears while you are making the reservation asking if you want to do an online chat with a reservation expert.

Sorry but what happened to you is not Delta's fault.

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
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4. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

OP - you ask, " If they don't allow it, then why doesn't the website prevent me from making the reservation." Well, it's because you didn't tell DL the truth when you purchased the ticket, isn't it?

When you reach the purchase page, where you enter the passenger information, you HAD check the box before this statement:

"The passenger is 14 or under, and agrees to the child travel guidelines and restrictions"

If your child was only 13, you really didn't tell the truth, did you? And you are now blaming Delta?? If you would have checked this box, it would have immediately brought up a new page detailing the UM program (below):

https:/…index.jsp

100% your fault, no sympathy here. Next time tell the truth and take responsibility for your own actions.

Edited: 25 July 2011, 20:12
Rockaway, New Jersey
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5. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

I'm confused as why it was necessary to have an escort for the 13 year old if she was with a 16 year old who didn't need one? Also, what does it matter if it's the last flight of the day? There could be 4 more flights that day but if they were 100% full (or overbooked) they wouldn't put the minor on any of them. Correct?

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

I'm confused as why it was necessary to have an escort for the 13 year old if she was with a 16 year old who didn't need one? Also, what does it matter if it's the last flight of the day? There could be 4 more flights that day but if they were 100% full (or overbooked) they wouldn't put the minor on any of them. Correct?

************

Because these are DL's rules. A 13 year old must be accompanied by someone 18 or older, or pay the UM fee. Link to rules already provided in post #4:

"The Unaccompanied Minor Program is required for all children 5-14 years old when not traveling in the same compartment with an adult at least 18 years old or the child's parent/legal guardian."

I don't know of any airline that will allow an UM on the last flight of the day. They don't want them stuck in an airport overnight. I believe if an UM needs to be rebooked, they will make every effort to get them on the next flight.

Edited: 25 July 2011, 23:07
Rockaway, New Jersey
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7. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

Ah, ok, that makes sense. I see why they wouldn't let an UM on the last flight but I suppose they would just bump someone off one of the later flights to get them on. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable sending my child (if I had one!) alone on any flight, much less one with a connection, but I guess I would be overprotective that way. I know kids do it every day without incident but the "what if's" would kill me.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

I used to feel that way, but it's just part of growing up. Even the most anxious one can now make connections by himself, though we always try to book only nonstops.

Edited: 25 July 2011, 23:27
Mountain Brook...
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9. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

There are several lessons to be learned from this situation.

One- Check, double check and triple check. Read the website FAQ's. Call and speak to a service representative. Then- call and double check with another service rep.

Two- Another poster is correcting is stating that you are paying the $100 fee for insurance. It is Delta's responsibility to get your minor child from one place to the other. And, if something goes wrong, it is their job to supervise your child until said child is transferred to the designated adult on the other end.

Three- Each situation is different, as is each child.

Having sent three of my four children on flights alone, I have made different decisions, based on the age and temperament of the child.

One child (age 11). I chose to drive to Atlanta to put her on a direct nonstop flight to her destination and I paid the unaccompanied minor fee. I chose to drive two hours to put her on a nonstop flight because I was not comfortable with the risk that her flight from Atlanta to Denver would be delayed or cancelled. It was her first flight alone, and she does not handle change well, nor does she feel as comfortable talking to adults.

Another child (age 17), I chose to pay the non-required unaccompanied minor fee to ensure that he would make two tight (less than one hour) connections. He has travelled extensively in small and large groups and with the family. However, he does not have much experience travelling alone. He also gets a little agitated when things don’t go as planned.

With the third child (age 15), I did not pay the unaccompanied minor fee for a trip with one connection. (On the return flight, she missed the connection due to a late arrival and was forced to spend the night in the airport.) I was mentally prepared for the possibility that she would miss her connection. She is, by far, my most self-assured child, able and willing to speak to adults and ask for assistance. She is also a child who is not likely to become upset and unnerved by a change in plans. Even so, in retrospect, my husband probably would have paid the fee, if he had to make the choice to again. In this case, as insurance, I did not book her on the last flight of the day. And, things still did not go well:

Having outlined my different choices, if you, as parent, feel that your 13 year old and your 16 year are capable of handling the potential disruptions of air travel, there is nothing to prevent you from listing them as 15 and 16. Delta does not require 15-17 year olds to travel as unaccompanied minors. Nor, does Delta ask for proof of age for minors. Then you would not have to pay the $100 fee. However, you would lose the assurance that a Delta representative would be supervising them, in the event there was a flight delay or cancellation.

atlanta
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10. Re: Anyone esle have trouble with unaccompanied minors on Delta

Keep in mind the birthdate info is for the TSA. It is not really something Delta uses. So the ticketing programs don't do a sanity check. (I once put in my birthday as 2012. Did not realize until I hit purchase. Nothing happened :))