Be On The Lookout For Cnn


Dec 2, 2003
Someone forwarded this note to me and it smells like a set up. Be on the lookout for CNN film crews :huh:

From: *&^^%$$
Subject: CNN Looking To Cover Unaccompanied Minors - NY Area
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004

Dear Family Travelers and Industry Friends,

We've received a request from CNN to help find a family to be
interviewed for a story about children flying solo. Below you'll
find a note from producers Peter Fitzpatrick and Liz Choi outlining
their needs.

"Thanks for speaking to me today about unaccompanied minors traveling
on airlines. I'd really appreciate your assistance and the assistance
of *&^%^%$# in helping find a parent with child who does
this that we could include in our report.

Here's what we would need:

A parent/child in the New York Metropolitan area to be included
in a CNN story on unaccompanied minors who fly solo. We'd like
to shoot video ASAP of the child getting ready to go on a flight
by him or herself - packing at home and then accompany the family
to a New York area airport (NJ, Conn., NY) along with a short
interview with the parent(s) at home. If the minor is arriving in
the New York area, we could shoot the arrival and unpacking
process instead. We'd be happy to send the family a videotape
of the story when completed. The interview/shoot would last
from 2-4 hours depending on the location of the airport
from the family's home."
I know we make money on umnrs on the escort fees charged, but I'm getting tired of babysitting in addition to all my other duties. This past week alone I've had unclaimed kids for over an hour that we have to watch while working the outbound flight. I know that the managers secretary got to watch 3 kids last week because mom or dad couldnt find time to make it to the airport to pick them up until 2 hours after the flight got in. If you dont have time to watch them like you should while you are working an outbound flight, be sure to give them to a sup or manager to watch. Wouldnt want to lose any of the little ones would we? :ph34r:
How long before unaccompanied minors are restricted?

Truly I am extremely distressed that a kid, any kid, is not important enough to be met at the gate by mom or dad. What could possibly be more important than your kid??

Yeah, I know flat tires happen. But unless the offender could produce a tire-change receipt than I say charge the parent $10 for every minute late.

Evidently this policy is in effect at a local daycare because I notice the place locks the doors at 6:01PM every evening.

Unaccompanied minors should be like hazmat -- not on commercial planes.

And why should the flight attendant get stuck with supervision after arrival? Why not the pilot?
It's not the flight attendant or pilot that gets stuck with the kid after arrival. It's the agent. We have waited as long as 4 hours for people to come to the airport and pick up their kid. Meanwhile, we have to do our job plus baby set this kid. You're right, this company should bill the parents for everyminute they are late picking them up.
What worries me is that sometimes we have a flifo and never call the people on the form to tell them about the delay. Another issue is the holding pen in PHL for UMNR's that is very unsecure. Its just this old gate area... come one now we can do better than that.
I guess this thread could turn into "the longest I've waited for a parent to pick uphis/her kid"!

I can remember many times where we have waited several hours for someone to drive to the airport because of a miscommunication between the divorced parents over when the child was coming. More than once I've had a parent say (after being told the the ex was not at the destination to pick-up) "Now do you see why I divorced that jerk/witch?" I've never actually had to send a UM back to the origin city, although I have threatened to do so. (Nobody could get a hold of the deignated person; the parent at the origin wound up calling some sort of great aunt -who lived two hours away- to get Junior).

My "favorite" time was in SFO when an eight year old UM arrived from east coast. The West Coast parent lived near Medford and was not there when the flight arrived at around 1900 Well, MFR is a long drive from the Bay Area so we weren't too worried for the first hour or so.

No answer at the MFR phone, so a call to dad on the East Coast followed (at around 2330 Eastern.) Yeah, mom was driving from MFR, here is the number of Grandma in Oregon who might know when mom left.
Grandma says, "The mom is at work, little Amy is not coming until tomorrow night!" Called mom at work. She is a nurse at a hospital, with a patient, she'll call as soon as possible. Finally get a hold of mom. Yeah, the ex had said Amy was coming in tomorrow. But she can drive down to SFO that night!

OK, so she is just finishing a 12 hour shift in the ER and is now going to drive all night to SFO. (And then back to Oregon?). I am already asking for a female agent to stay overtime with Amy until the morning. Mom's all night drive didn't seem like the safest thing in world, so I wound up putting the UM on the first SFO-MFR flight on United in the morning. (At US expense). Never did find out who was responsible for the micomm between the parents. And neither parent ever wrote a nice thank you note for the free ticket to Oregon. (And the hotel room) The agent who got paid 10 hourss overtime for UM sitting was happy, though. And little Amy was also very nice about the whole thing

(I wonder how an LCC with no interline ticketing agreements would have handled this?)
tadjr said:
mom or dad couldnt find time to make it to the airport to pick them up until 2 hours after the flight got in.
Our escort fee should end when the flight lands. Then we charge a babysitting fee.
The most sad experience I've had with a UNAC was many years ago and it haunts me still. At the last minute a small boy was thrust on board the aircraft. It was a late night departure, way past time any little kid should be awake.

The child was a holy terror inflight for the whole hour. When he wasn't running up and down the aisles smacking people in the head, he was screaming his head off.

Back then, the FA's used to take the kids off first. I was very eager to have a chat with the boy's parents. It was almost midnight and there was no one there for him! I left him with the agent while I went back to the a/c to gather up my belongings. After the agent had made several pages, he called the phone numbers on the minor release form. Both numbers were disconnected!

The next day, I learned that poor kid had been taken to a children's shelter by the police department. No parent or guardian had been found to take custody. It really made me wonder what else had gone on in that poor little kid's life. Might have explained his behavior.

Very sad.

Unfortunately, the history of humankind shows that children have not been treated particularly well. While most developed countries made significant progress in the 20th century, we are quickly seeing human devalued to the point that assuming responsibility for anyone is a risky proposition. I personally think the legacy airlines should get out of the business of accepting unaccompanied minors. It is simply too risky. I further doubt that any airline makes money carrying unaccompanied minors just because there are too many stories like the above.

As airlines cut their costs, they have to get rid of special services that complicate their operation and benefit a select few customers. It may sound cold, but airlines no longer are in a position to care for needy seniors and children. Unfortunately, air transportation has become a mass transportation enterprise and you don't get unaccompanied minor or wheel chair service on the New York subway.
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Doesn't matter if you like kids or not. The fact remains is that the little sticky-fingered snot-nosed rug rats are someone's child, some mother's precious cargo. Being that most everyone working at an airline is an adult it's up to the adults to make sure little Johnny or Suzy gets to Mommy & Daddy or CNN will have it at the top of the hour every hour. Believe me, they put TWO PRODUCERS on this feature, that tells me they are looking for somebody to screw up to make a "better story." Be on your best behavior kids. :ph34r:
Ever wonder what happened to that little boy? Well he grew up and we now call him Dave Bronner. ;) :shock: