Airline Loses 11-Year-Old Boy at Airport & Charges $300 for Their 'Services'

airport lost kidA mom who paid United Airlines a $300 "unaccompanied minor fee" to escort her 11-year-old son safely to his grandparents during a flight got the scare of her life when the airline lost her child.

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The 11-year-old, Owen Kirvan, was flying from Washington, DC, to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey. Only after the one-hour flight, his mom, Kathy Kirvan, started getting messages from her son on his cell phone saying there was no one at the arrival gate to greet him.

Making matters worse, Owen's grandfather at Newark was given the wrong gate info -- so he asked for help from customer service, who "made no attempt to track him down," Kirvan said. "We were left on our own to find him." 

After about a half hour of frantic communication through the family, the grandfather found Owen safe. Nonetheless, the mom points out, "Something could have happened. Someone could have easily come up to him posing as a representative and he would have followed."

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The mom filed complaints with the Department of Transportation and United, and while she hasn't heard back yet, I hope when she does, she gets one huge, groveling, on-hands-and-knees apology. And a $300 refund. And a gazillion frequent flyer miles, although whether this family will ever fly this airline again is debatable for good reason.

For one, think about it: Anything could have happened to her kid. And $300 is a ton of money to pay for nothing! For that amount, I'd want an escort pretty much handcuffed to my kid.

And this isn't an isolated fluke: Last year, United changed its unaccompanied minor program to exclude connecting flights after they were accused of losing a 10-year-old girl in a Chicago airport.

As a mom whose family lives far away, I've certainly dreamed of the day I can send my daughter on a flight to see Grandpa and Grandma on her own. Only now, I'm not so sure.

 

Image via 06photo/shutterstock

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