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United Airlines left my kid behind

Madison, Wisconsin...
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United Airlines left my kid behind

Today my family had the worst customer experience ever. My wife and I had tickets to New Orleans for weekend. A week or two ago, I realized that I couldn't go on the trip, so we wanted to switch my ticket to my son. The tickets were booked via the frequent flyer program. Despite the fact that I had a ticket already reserved and paid for in my name, I was told repeatedly that I could not transfer that to my son. I was told this was a TSA requirement. I spoke with numerous agents and supervisors who all simply said, "We're sorry. We can't help you." Eventually, I spoke with a supervisor who said that they could help. I had to pay a fee to get the miles for my ticket refunded back to my account and then he would book my son in the same place. I accepted that. I asked him REPEATEDLY to verify that this meant that my son was going to be flying on the same flights as his mother in both directions and that I did not have to purchase a new ticket for him. He repeatedly assured me that this was true. He booked my son on the flight, charged me a $10 processing fee, waived another fee, and provided me with a confirmation number. Again, he repeatedly verified that my son had a ticket on these flights with his mother.

When we got to the airport this morning, we were told that my son did not have a ticket, that despite the fact that I was assured all of this and issued a confirmation number, that he had not been ticketed. The flight was full, overbooked, and no seats available. At that point, my only option would be to purchase a brand new ticket, but there was no room anyway.

My wife is now in New Orleans by herself and my son is here with me. It's too late to get him there with his mother.

This is the worst customer service EVER!!!!!!

I will not be flying on United again. I will be cancelling my United credit card. I will be telling anyone who will listen to do the same.


Palmetto, Florida
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5,374 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

You do have the confirmation number and itinerary with son's name on it as passenger? Did you show this to the agent?

Leicester, United...
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1,280 posts
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2. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

"I was assured all of this and issued a confirmation number"

And why did you not go online with the confirmation number to double-check that the booking had been made. Indeed, I would have been sure to do so if for no other reason than to ensure that my wife and son had seats together.

Had you done this, the problem would have been resolved before you got to the airport.

And your subject is extremely misleading. It implies they abandoned your son on his own to his own devices which they did not do.

Edited: 10:08 am, February 23, 2013
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2,551 posts
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3. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

That's overbooking for you...first ones booted off...miles tickets...airlines don't care about wrecking peoples travel plans just the bottom line

Leicester, United...
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1,280 posts
1 review
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4. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

"first ones booted off...miles tickets."

Nonsense, certainly with United. I was flying on a miles ticket last year and actually volunteered. Had I not, I would have been on the plane.

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
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5. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

This story is a bit strange, and I wonder what's missing. UA was correct; you can't transfer a ticket to someone else.

You state though your miles were redeposited into your account, and a new ticket booked for your son. I don't understand the "$10 reprocessing fee"; what does this mean? You should have been charged a fee to redeposit your miles (ranging from $0-$150, depending on status), a $25 phone booking fee (sounds as if this was waived), since travel was less than 21 days away, you would also be charged a "close in" fee (ranging from $25-$75, depending on your status).

Did you go online and confirm that your son's itinerary was actually ticketed? Just having a PNR means nothing. It doesn't mean a ticket was actually issues. Do you have a ticket number? Can't provide any advice without knowing this.

Edited: 10:51 am, February 23, 2013
Paris, France
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16,754 posts
20 reviews
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6. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

Agree that title of thread is misleading. I was picturing a child stranded alone at the airport. I normally check in online the day before my flight - why didn't you do that?

I don't disagree that United ma have screwed up here - but you did too, by not double checking your booking.

Houston, Texas
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for Air Travel, Business Travel
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90 reviews
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7. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

No attempt to check-in online 24 hours prior to departure? No confirmation of ticket? Misleading thread title. While the UA person (not the entire 86k employee group) may have messed up, there is personal responsibility that enters the picture.

Aberdeen, United...
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8. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

Very misleading imo,your son didn't get abandoned at the airport himself???

London, United...
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9. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

Ok, the child was not left behind, that's simply scaremongering. The child was simply not ticketed to fly and was in the care of his father.

I am guessing the op never checked his confirmation or flights, for what reason I don't know.he obviously thought he had a ticket, which was not the case.

All very confusing really and some misunderstanding somewhere along the line. Who is at fault, united or the op, is hard to tell, but I do wonder, when it was made very clear " repeatedly" that the ticket could not be transferred, why the op persisted and then did not check it was done. Very strange. For most people, alarm bells would have went off and a check would have been done.

East Sussex, United...
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10. Re: United Airlines left my kid behind

Totally misleading topic title. ' I failed to double check and confirm my kid's booking details were correct before going to the airport' would be more realistic. Parental responsibility springs to mind.