Check-in / Boarding

Experienced problems during check-in or boarding?

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Check-in / Boarding
15 yr old held hostage by Continental

 
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  #1  
Old Aug 11, 2008, 3:40 PM
Fyrfyter Fyrfyter is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 5

My 15 year old daughters return flight from Ontario California airport to Columbus Ohio filled with fear, intimidation and incompetence. on July 27, 2008 I sent my daughter to a 2 week summer camp in Running Springs Ca. I bought the tickets online directly through Continental on 5/11/08 at that time I checked Continentals web site for their policy on children traveling alone. Their web site states,

"Special supervision for children ages 15-17 who are traveling alone will no longer be offered."

Nothing else not if ID is required for the child NOTHING!

On July 27 2008 I and my daughter arrived at Columbus airport and checked in with the ticketing agent. The agent informed us that the flight was delayed due to "mandatory crew rest" and that she would have to find my daughter a flight on another airline. She issued us a voucher for American Airline. We then checked in with the American ticket agent who informed us that their policy was children 15-17 yrs old had to purchase their unaccompanied minor service for an additional $100.00. I paid the fee and my daughter traveled to her destination in California.

Heres where Continentals incompetence comes in.

On her return flight she and a camp counselor went to the Continental ticket agent in Ontario Ca. airport. The agent informed my daughter she could not be issued her boarding passes due to the fact that I had not purchased their "unaccompanied minor service". My daughter asked the ticket agent what she should do and the agent said "thats your problem not mine". I get a frantic call from my daughter on my cell phone informing me of the problem. I asked my daughter to let me speak with the agent. The agent came on the phone and rather loudly said "sir, you need to call this 800 number and purchase the unaccompanied minor service". I tried to explain to her what was posted on Continentals web site but she kept insisting I needed to purchase this service. I asked if I could purchase it through her and she said "its not my job". I asked her to give me the 800 number so I could purchase the UM service. She informed me she had given the number to my daughter. I asked to speak with my daughter again. I asked my daughter for the 800 number and I called 800-523-3273 on my home phone. I explained to this agent my 15 yr old daughter was standing at the Continental ticket counter in Ontario Ca. airport returning home from summer camp and the ticket agent at the airport would not issue her boarding passes until I purchased the UM service. This agent informed me that Continental does not offer this service to children 15 - 17 and REFUSED to sell me this service. After about 5 min. of trying to make this agent understand the situation she still refused to sell me the service. I asked my daughter who was still on the cell phone to let me talk to the airport ticket agent. She handed her cell phone to the airport agent who answered with "what do you want now?"

At this point I was livid and I'm sure I was speaking louder then I normally do. I tried to explain that I was on my home phone with the 800 agent and she is refusing to sell me the UM service since my daughter was 15 and Continental no longer offered this service for her age group. The airport agent said "unless your kid has a UM pass she ain't boarding any flights!" I was at a loss at this time. I then told the 800 agent what the airport agent had said and asked "what am I supposed to do? My daughter needs to come home. I need you to sell me the UM service!" the 800 agent once again refused to sell me the service "due to Continental no longer offering UM service for 15 -17 yr olds. At this point my blood was at a boil and I'm sure my systolic blood pressure had risen a good 100 points. I then seamed at the 800 agent that "my daughter was 14 OK shes 14 not 15 she's 14!" The 800 agent said "If you want to be that way about it then I'll need the name, address, and phone number of the person dropping her off at the airport and I'll need the same information for the person picking her up in Columbus, Oh. I obtained the needed information from the camp councilor who was with my daughter at the airport and gave my info to the 800 agent paid for the UM service with my credit card. I asked the camp councilor to inform the airport agent that the UM service had been purchased. I heard the agent in the background say that my daughters flight had left and she would need to get another flight. My daughter was issued boarding passes for flight CO726 leaving at 11:33 AM to Houston Tx. and connecting flight CO1492 from Houston to Columbus, Oh. departing at 8:30 PM.

In hind sight I'm kicking myself for not getting the the airport agent and the 800 agents name.

I then called Continentals 800-wecare2 line and talked to a service rep who explained that the UM service is not offered to 15 - 17 yr olds who had some sort of ID a school issued id card, drivers license, library card or birth certificate but for children who had no ID (which my daughter didn't) they need the UM service. This is the first time anyone had mentioned anything about an ID. Its not on their web site, none of the agents had mentioned this fact not a word. the rep went on to tell me she could do nothing about the fact that I had to pay the additional $100.00 charge. I informed the rep that I was not concerned about paying the fee. My concern was that it seemed the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing and I was refused purchase of the service and the rude and uncaring attitude of Continental employees. She asked me if I would like to speak to a supervisor which I said yes. After 30 min. of being on hold a supervisor who identified herself as Ms. Barns came on the line and I explained the whole situation to her. She took my daughters information, confirmation number, flight numbers and pulled the records up on her computer. She once again explained that due to my daughter not having ID she was considered a UM and need the UM service to get through TSA I informed her that if that had been on Continentals web site for children traveling alone or on the FAQ page I would have provided proper ID. Ms. Barns then said she was just referencing that for my knowledge for future travel that my daughter may do and that she agreed with me that the way my daughter and I were treated and refused the UM service was a dis-service to my daughter and me. She said that if I faxed a copy of my daughters birth certificate to her she would credit back my credit card the $100.00 charge. I thanked her but again told her my major concern was the way we were treated and Continental employees obvious lack of understanding of Continentals UM policy concerning 15 -17 yr olds. She said she would look into it and issued me a case number.

You think it ends here theres more!

I get another frantic call from my daughter on my cell phone at approximately 2:10 PM (she was in tears this time) she said the gate agent would not let her board the plane due to the fact that her connecting flight in Houston was the last departing flight for Columbus of the day. I told my daughter to give the phone to the gate agent. This agent told me that due to flight CO1492 being the last flight from Houston to Columbus she could not board my daughter in case the flight was canceled they could not put up a minor overnight. I then asked if she could put her on another flight or airline, which she said she couldn't due to the fact that other airlines would not accept Continental boarding pass that it had to be a mechanical breakdown of the plane before another airline would except a voucher (hmmm, then why was my daughters delayed departing flight from Columbus Oh on 7/27/08 that voucher was excepted by American? That delayed flight wasn't due to mechanical breakdown). I explained to this agent that I was trying very hard to control my temper and I understood that she had nothing to do with the previous UM service situation but that I wanted my daughter on a flight home and I didn't care if it was on a Continental flight or some other airline she was going to get my daughter home. She explained to me that the only thing she could do was re-issue tickets for flight CO 162 departing on 8/11/08 at 6:00 AM and arriving in Houston at 11:15 AM and a connecting flight CO 1092 departing Houston at 12:55 PM and arriving in Columbus Oh at 4:39 PM. I asked the agent what my daughter was supposed to do wait all night in the airport for this 6:00 AM flight since she was returning home from a summer camp and the camp was closed. She said "Oh, she returning home from summer camp?" I told her yes she wasn't dropped off by a family member she was taken to the airport by a camp councilor. At this time I heard the agent talking to someone it turned out by shear luck that the councilor had not left my daughter she escorted her to the departure gate and was going to stay with her until the plane was in the air. The councilor said she could take my daughter back to camp and return her for the 6:00 AM flight on 8/11/08 but I would have to pay an additional transportation fee and a additional nights stay at camp. I was just glad to have my daughter taken care of at this point. I told the agent to re-book my daughter for the 6:00 AM flight on 8/11/08.

I faxed a copy of my daughters birth certificate and a one page letter to Ms. Barns. In the letter I stated that it is my firm belief that the 1st Continental ticket agent in Ontario Ca. intentionally scheduled my daughter on departing flight CO1492 for the last flight of the night. She knew she was re-issuing tickets for a minor since she was the one that originally would not issue my daughter her boarding passes due to the fact that she was an UM and did not purchase the UM service. I know I can't prove this but this is what I believe to be true.

We will see what Happens next.
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  #2  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
Eagleguy Eagleguy is offline
American Airlines Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Actually, American Airlines passengers 15 years old and above are not required to be UMs. They can travel by themselves if the parents so choose. It's only if you wanted the service that you pay for it.
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  #3  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 2:34 PM
Fyrfyter Fyrfyter is offline
 
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At the gate the American gate agent called my daughter and another Young lady up to board the plane. They escorted my daughter on the plan but the gate agent would not let this other young lady on-board because she was telling this girls mother she needed the UM service to board. Sounds like American employees are just as confused about their UM services as Continental employees.
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  #4  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 2:44 PM
Eagleguy Eagleguy is offline
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Well if she is 14 or under she has to use the service. I have had it happen when parents come to drop off their kids and we have to inform them that they have to have it...
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  #5  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 2:59 PM
Fyrfyter Fyrfyter is offline
 
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As I listened to there conversation while my daughter was boarding the plane the mother stated this other young lady was 15. It seems to me it comes down to an ID issue, if continental would have just posted another sentence on their children traveling alone page to state "Children 15 - 17 must have ID, school ID card, copy of birth cert., library card etc.. the confusion over who must have the UM service and who does not could be cleared up.
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  #6  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 3:03 PM
Eagleguy Eagleguy is offline
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I'm gonna look that up right now on my website for AA because I am unaware of any ID requirements. I just take their word for it. Ya know provided they look the age they say they are haha!
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  #7  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 3:06 PM
Eagleguy Eagleguy is offline
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"AA reserves the right to request documented proof of age for children traveling alone. Please be prepared to provide documentation (birth certificate, driver's license, passport, etc.) upon request." So I guess if you get an A-hole agent then you need to be prepared to have docs.
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  #8  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 3:11 PM
Fyrfyter Fyrfyter is offline
 
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Ok, granted but I've just come from AA web site and on their children traveling alone page there is a link "documents required" follow that link and all it says is (as copied and pasted from the site).

"Identification Requirements
Passengers 18 years of age or older are required to have government-issued photo identification for travel within the United States. However, you may be required to present proof of age (such as a birth certificate) at the airport for any children under the age of 18 who are traveling with you.

Passengers under the age of 18 who are traveling outside the United States are subject to the same travel document requirements as adults. Visit the U.S. State Department's website for information on passports as well as visa and immunization requirements for international travel."

Nothing about domestic flight ID requirement.
I think they do this on purpose so they can get an extra $100.00 out of the parents.
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  #9  
Old Aug 16, 2008, 3:20 PM
Fyrfyter Fyrfyter is offline
 
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My grievance is with the way the Continental employee in Ontario Ca. treated my daughter and I. Then re-booked her flight for the last flight of the day out of Houston Tx. I had no problem paying the fee for UM service.
The AA agent said my daughter needed the UM service paid the fee, the Ontario Ca. ticket agent said my daughter needed UM service tried to purchase but was refused.
Tell me the left hand knows what the right hand is doing at Continental!
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  #10  
Old Aug 30, 2008, 3:09 AM
Kay Kay is offline
Continental Airlines Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Believe it or not, but there still some really good employees at CO.. It take a few to spoil the whole bunch.

Shame on the airport agent for not taking the time to at least reveiw the rules.
It's not Co policy to ignore passenger just to get flights out on time.

On behalf of the employees at Continental that still care, I'm sorry your daughter had to experience such a problem.

Last edited by Kay; Aug 30, 2008 at 3:12 AM.
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  #11  
Old Aug 30, 2008, 5:40 AM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

Quote:
"Identification Requirements
Passengers 18 years of age or older are required to have government-issued photo identification for travel within the United States. However, you may be required to present proof of age (such as a birth certificate) at the airport for any children under the age of 18 who are traveling with you.

Passengers under the age of 18 who are traveling outside the United States are subject to the same travel document requirements as adults. Visit the U.S. State Department's website for information on passports as well as visa and immunization requirements for international travel.
The first sentence would imply that you are travelling domestic as international you NEED a passport just to leave the country. TIP: The easiest way to alleviate such troubles would be to get the kid a passport, which is acceptable document of travel anywhere. I'm not saying what happened to your daughter wasn't harsh, because it was, just making a note to all parents out there who haven't done so and will allow there kids to travel, they should look into getting passports and such incidents such as this would not happen.
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  #12  
Old Dec 21, 2008, 3:59 PM
msc39nj msc39nj is offline
 
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Let's help get Continental to the top of the customer complaint list with the DOT, where we all know they belong. Don't submit false complaints. It's not necessary. The way this airline operates, there are too many legitimate complaints. Here is a great article about the right places to complain, and, unlike Continental's web-site, offers an online forum to send complaints, and links to a web form: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/colum...woodyard_x.htm

form: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfm
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