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Simon Walster May 7, 2019 7:05 AM

Son not allowed to fly due to incorrect information provided by Etihad
Etihad Airways

On Thursday 4 April my son (12) was due to fly out to Abu Dhabi with his sister (16). The flight was an Alitalia flight via Rome, with the Rome to Abu Dhabi section being operated by Etihad.

An hour and a half before the flight my son was informed that he would not be able to join the Rome to Abu Dhabi flight as he was an Unaccompanied Minor and there was not an adult to accompany him and a flight nanny could not be arranged for that flight segment as an adult had to sign for the Unaccompanied Minor service in Rome.

Note: We have been flying with Etihad for the passed 12 years and are fully aware of Etihad's Unaccompanied Minor policy which is that 'Children aged 12 to 17, or Young Passengers, are able to travel on their own on an adult ticket, but as a parent you may prefer to pay to use our Unaccompanied Minor service'. We as the parents were quite happy for our son to travel without the Unaccompanied Minor service especially as he was accompanied by his 16 year old sister.

There was no Etihad Airways representation at Heathrow Airport at 3.30pm on the day in question, so Alitalia staff contacted Etihad and were informed (wrongly) that our son had to avail the Unaccompanied Minor service at Rome in order to fly to Abu Dhabi, however as referenced above this could not be done as he was not travelling with an adult to sign-up for this service.

To cut a long and very stressful and difficult story, for my wife and kids at Heathrow, short I had to rush to the Etihad reservations desk at Abu Dhabi airport and book my son on a direct Etihad flight from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi (at a cost of AED 6200) in order to get my son to Abu Dhabi for his Easter holidays. You will note that my son was fully eligible to make this flight on his own without a Unaccompanied Minor service as confirmed by Etihad's policy on this matter (see above).

Ultimately both my children arrived safely in Abu Dhabi but on separate flights and at an additional cost of AED 6200, all because Etihad airways staff had wrongly informed Alitalia staff about their Unaccompanied Minor service.

I have followed this up with Etihad on several occasions (RQID:704716) and you have refused to take responsibility for the issue and refused to provide any compensation for the additional money spent or the stress and concern caused. Instead you have passed the buck and instructed us to take this up with Alitalia.

Etihad's levels of customer service in this matter have been extremely poor.


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