The mother and father of a 10-year-old girl have made the details of United Airlines’ appalling service public after their daughter was lost midway through her journey to summer camp in Traverse City, Michigan. She had been travelling from San Francisco, California. What ensued was a complex set of calls to find her and her bags.
Perry and Annie Klebahn have made a complaint letter to United Airlines public. The letter details how the airline lost track of Phoebe (age 10) on June 30 when she landed at Chicago’s O’Hare airport to connect to the second leg of her flight. The girl had been told not to go with anyone except a person wearing a United Airlines badge. The parents were also told that the girl would be accompanied at all times. Her parents didn’t know about the airline losing track of their daughter until the Michigan summer camp called to inform them that she never arrived, which made them very worried.
Mrs Klebahn called a customer line that then connected her to the carrier’s service centre in India. After waiting on the line for 20 minutes, the person told her that Phoebe arrived in Traverse City. When Annie became upset, she was put on hold again and waited for another ten minutes. Then she was told that her daughter was in Chicago and missed the connecting flight.
In the meantime, Mr Klebahn called a different line to get in touch with a US-based customer service representative. He was told that the ‘unaccompanied minor service’ in Chicago didn’t show up to put Phoebe on her second flight. When he begged the representative to locate Phoebe, she told them her shift was ending and couldn’t help. Then he pleaded, asking if she was a mother and what she would do if she couldn’t find her child for 45 minutes. Since the woman was a mother, she related and only took 15 minutes to find the 10-year-old.
When Perry and Annie spoke with Phoebe on the phone, they found out that no one was there to meet her when she landed in Chicago. In the letter to United Airlines, the parents said they were never told that the carrier outsourced the unaccompanied minor service with a third party. They also found out that the flight attendants told their daughter they couldn’t help her and to wait. She asked to use a phone three times, but they made her wait. Then she missed her flight and asked a United Airlines worker to ensure the summer camp knew she was late. The worker said she would take care of it.
Phoebe didn’t arrive in Michigan until four hours after her scheduled time, and she didn’t even have her luggage. The Klebahns went through another round of frustration trying to find them. Camp officials were sent to the airport five times before the bags finally made it. The family had to pay the camp a total of $125 for the officials to go to the airport.
The Klebahns filed a formal complaint with United Airlines in the middle of last month and addressed a letter to Jeffrey Smisek, the chief executive. At the time, they couldn’t get a response about their complaint. They have also asked for a $99 refund for the unaccompanied minor service.
It has taken until this month for the airline to respond, following the story being put on the local news. In a statement, the carrier said that they apologise and are reviewing the incident. The Klebahns have described the kind of service they don’t want their customers to have. They are returning the miles to Mr Klebahn’s MileagePlus Premier account, it added, and refunding the unaccompanied minor fee.Author's Google+ page