Dear Delta: Unaccompanied Minor Edition

A few hours before I was Comic Con bound,my nephew departed after a six week stay with us in the PNW. After some drama at the Delta counter, we were able to send him back home although he was really rooting for another screw up to stay longer…

Well he almost got stuck at JFK inside the flying metal tube because the flight was delayed almost 2 hours. As he blissfully jetted through the stratosphere, my cousin – his mother – was unsuccessfully getting through to the Delta counter to ask for instructions to pick up her child. Even though we knew of the delay, no one ever gave us after hours support at the final destination to retrieve the kid after he landed.

In SJU, the airport counter closed before the airplane arrived. No one was there to ask for ID, to verify his mom was who she said she was, or to close out the protocols for flying as an unaccompanied minor. At 13, my nephew is extremely resourceful and self-sufficient but is still a child. His mother had to charm TSA and security to get to the gate, a risk in itself, but she managed to get to him without him even realizing the panic and chaos that had ensued on his behalf.

To avoid any other families from having to go all Taken on your company, we suggest you take a look at how the unaccompanied minor policies are followed at each airport counter. You need some serious amendments or at least some consistency because the treatment we got was disconcerting, condescending and not helpful. The safety of the children has to come first, and the price to secure the status of UNMN should not be squandered this way. The $150 USD each way were not worth the experience, and feel more like a nickel and dime situation than a genuine attempt at safety and comfort for all involved.

Customer care will help us figure out some compensation but man, stuff like this shouldn’t just happen. If I hadn’t had the foresight to stay behind and arrive at San Diego for Comic Con a day later, the cost to redo the entire itinerary would have been in the thousands! Maybe your staff doesn’t care about the collateral damage but we do. The cost could have been way higher if something would have happened to the child…on his own at an airport after midnight.

Sincerely,

Me, Gold Medallion and ex-airplane engineer

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