The art of appeal: 5 tips that will turn a “no” into a “yes”

By | September 25th, 2013

Teresa Ferris is mad.

She recently paid her airline a $100 “unaccompanied minor” fee when her son flew alone from Oakland to Los Angeles. It didn’t buy her much, she says.

“After he landed, there was no record on the computer of him flying as an unaccompanied minor,” Ferris remembers. “I couldn’t get the paperwork needed to pass security to meet him at the gate in time.”

Her son walked off the plane on his own and found his way to the baggage claim area alone. Ferris complained, and the airline refunded her $100 fee and offered her a $100 voucher toward a future flight.

“I’m disappointed, because I would have to spend money to get any additional compensation,” she says. “Am I stuck with it?”

No, you’re never stuck with an answer a company gives you. But there’s an art to a successful appeal. Here are the five steps.

Write back — if you can.
Often, a company will send a make-good offer via email, as they did with Ferris. The easiest way to let it know you don’t like the offer is, obviously, to say so. But that’s sometimes easier said than done. Too often, the email ends with: “Please do not respond to this email as this mailbox is not monitored.” Oh, really? You’re sending an offer and you don’t care if I like it? Puh-leeze!

Find someone who can give you a “yes.”
There’s always an executive who can overrule an insincere and seemingly arbitrary offer, but finding that person can be exceedingly difficult. I’ve spent the last three years digging up the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the right customer service managers. If you need to appeal, that list is a great place to start.

Know what to say.
A written appeal to the right person is just the first step. You also have to know what to say, which isn’t always easy. Consider Ferris’ case. Are there any rules her airline broke when it lost the records of her unaccompanied minor? Did it violate any laws? As far as I can tell, the only thing it did was to make this customer a very nervous mother. A successful appeal would find a way to encapsulate that frustration into a succinct, emotion-free missive, and that takes some thoughtful consideration.

Offer a sensible resolution.
A company can’t read your mind, so in addition to expressing your frustration in a polite and coherent way, you have to offer a reasonable resolution. If a voucher is being refunded along with the fee wasn’t enough, then what would work? Ferris wanted a round-trip ticket for her trouble, and she was willing to put that in writing. That seems like a more realistic request than, say, a round-trip voucher in first class (a common mistake novice complainers make).

Be reasonable about your chances.
Some cases are easier to appeal than others. After I reviewed Ferris’ grievance, I concluded her airline’s proposed settlement was relatively generous, but that it can’t hurt to ask for more. My advice? Hope for the best but expect another “no” from her airline. Normally, airlines don’t give round-trip vouchers for a failure to allow Mom to meet her son at the gate — but you never know.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Ferris about her grievance. I hope her airline can figure out a way to make her happy, but experience tells me that her appeal will need to strike the right chord. It’ll need to be calm, articulate, sensible — and it’ll need to reach the right person.

Is it becoming too difficult to appeal a rejection by a company?

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  • backprop

    It can be too hard to appeal sometimes.

    But in the case of the OP, I don’t see it happening. She paid for something she didn’t reasonably get. Mind you, the kid got from point A to point B, so the fare isn’t in question, only the UM fee. If the airline refused to refund the UM fee, then an appeal might be in order.

    But in this case, the airline did refund 100% of the fee, and another $100 voucher on top of it. Now you’re seriously helping her try to get a round-trip ticket? That’s absurd. Compensation is there to help make you whole, and the airline’s offered compensation did that.

    A round trip ticket on top of the refund (and voucher) is money-hunting and shouldn’t be encouraged.

  • I try to offer advice to everyone, even when they don’t have strong cases. In this particular instance, I don’t think she will get anything more from the airline, as I said in the story.

  • TonyA_says

    Pretty disgusting. No not the airline, but the mom. I remember sending off one of our sons to visit his best friend after his family moved to Knoxville. First of all we were required to present ourselves earlier at the check in counter in La Guardia. The parent our Guardian MUST check in with the the unaccompanied minor. Then you are given a pass to go with your kid to the gate. The agents then took care of all the other formalities. To pick up your kid, you go to the counter and get a pass. You need to be there at the gate waiting for your kid. To be honest, one of the trips, I just talked to the TSA agent and told him I was picking my kid up. He just told me to go though the security line. That’s it. Simple.
    I am not sure what other paper work you need other than declaring your kid as a UMNR, paying the fee, and signing in at the airport. Maybe this mother was just late or unattentive. Sorry but I don’t buy the story.


    Something is off about the OP’s story. Once the paperwork is done it is in the computer and it is in a pouch around the unaccompanied minor’s neck. Flight attendants are required to check on the child periodically and then hold the UM back until everyone else has left the plane. She wants us to believe that the paperwork was completed in Oakland, put in the pouch, the UM checked in at the gate, put on the plane and by the time the flight arrived in LA that all record was gone? Even if the UM took the pouch off the FA would have known he was on the plane from the manifest. Someone did not do their job and it most probably was the family member/friend checking the minor in at the Oakland airport. UMs are a big liability for airlines and that is one aspect of customer service that they try their best not to mess up. She got a refund and a voucher. That is sufficient for what is most likely an error on the part of the person who brought the UM to the airport in Oakland. There is more to this story that the OP wants us to know.

  • Michelle

    I don’t think it’s become too difficult to appeal, particularly with the resources found on this site. Finding a happy resolution, on the other hand, much more difficult. In this case, I understand that the OP was upset at her son having to make his own way through the airport. However, by stating that she didn’t get what she paid for, the obvious resolution would be to refund her money, which happened. I am not sure what more she is looking for.

  • backprop

    Fair enough. In this case, perhaps advice of “Don’t push it. You look like a money grubber” would be appropriate?

  • MarkKelling

    Not sure what airline the OP used, but I have never seen anything like this. Every UNAM I have ever seen get on any airplane is brought to the gate by their parent (or by some adult, lets just call that person a parent to simplify things), there is special paperwork that everyone must sign, the child is taken on the plane seated and told not to leave the plane after it lands until someone comes and gets them, and the other parent is always waiting at the gate. Given all this, how could the child simply wander off the plane to baggage claim when it landed? I doubt the airline wouldn’t be looking for a parent if no one was at the gate.

    I think the refund of the fee is enough. After all, they didn’t leave the child in some unexpected airport and tell her someone would have to pick the kid up there. And apparently the child is old enough and intelligent enough to find his way around an airport without issue.

  • Deb Kauffman

    How old is this minor? If the child was under 15, I would be enraged, especially if the child was in the single digit ages. The age of the minor isn’t moot, in my mind, but again, she’s been given more than she paid for.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    @elliottc:disqus, how old is this unaccompanied minor? I’m going to guess a teenager, just because with similar stories, you’ve compared the child in the story to your own pre-teen children.

    The points you make in how to appeal are good; the story you’re using to illustrate those points isn’t (if the UNAM is a teenager).

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I found one way fares for $70 on a random date in the near future, so the $100 voucher seems to be a refund of the fare paid, as well.

  • MarkKelling

    Don’t get me wrong. If things happened as stated by the OP, I would be enraged too regardless of the age of the child. If he is booked as a UNAM, he is not considered old enough to travel alone or be allowed to wander the airport alone.

  • Michael__K

    To pick up your kid, you go to the counter and get a pass.

    Doesn’t that require for a counter agent to look at their computer and find a record of the kid? You don’t buy that a human being could make an error leading to “no record on the computer of him flying as an unaccompanied minor“?

  • Michael__K

    . Once the paperwork is done it is in the computer

    How does the paperwork get into the computer?

  • The age is not relevant. You pay the money, you should get the service.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    The OP was refunded the money for the service. She wants more to compensate her for her pain and anguish. She feels a $100 voucher, which could fly her child again on that route, to be insufficient. Age is relevant.

  • jmtabb

    I’ve had no problems getting a gate pass to pick up my 12 year old – who was flying alone but NOT flying with the UM designation/fees. I’ve also had no problems getting a gate pass to meet my elderly grandfather who was in the early stages of Alzheimers. Neither had the “UM” designation in the computer.

    All I had to do was go to the check-in desk, say “Can I get a gate pass to meet my 12 year old at the gate” or “Can I get a gate pass to meet my elderly grandfather at the gate” and they provided it without question.

    So I don’t understand why the OP couldn’t get a gate pass. What airline was it?

    I too think that a refund of the fee and a voucher is the “right” amount of compensation for this one. The son did the travel, got to his destination and was otherwise not “harmed” by this omission.

    I’d also know how old the kid was at the time of travel. Letting a 5 year old wander the airport by themselves is much more of an issue than a 12 or 13 year old….

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I agree the compensation offered is fair. But I’m curious why your first inclination is that the error was with whoever checked the child in at the airport rather than a simple mistake by one or more persons working for the airline. How exactly would check-in for a UM differ from a normal check-in? Let’s say the kid checked himself in and never said a word about being an UM… there’d still be the record of the UM fee having been paid so I would expect the airline to handle him as a UM.

  • emanon256

    I got one when I was meeting my wife once. I just went to the check in counter and said I’d like to surprise my wife by meeting her at the gate. They checked my ID, punched some stuff into the computer, and printed a gate pass.

    ETA: This was just last year too. Not pre TSA when anyone could go through security.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    It is relevant in regard to how much angst the parent would feel about this, but from a business standpoint I don’t think it makes any difference at all. I wouldn’t expect them to offer more back if the child was 12 as opposed to 16. I think it would need to be a really horrible case where they were afraid of negative publicity for them to offer much more than what they did here.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Question because I’m not really familiar with the details of UM: What happens if nobody is at the gate to meet the UM? Do they wait there? Escort them to get their bags? What is the procedure?

    It seems to me that irregardless of whether the mom could get the gate pass or not, the kid probably shouldn’t have ended up at baggage claim by themselves.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Well, if the kid was 5 and wandering around the airport, I’d want to punish the airline and the only way I could think of to do that (besides negative social media, the local tv stations and newspaper) is monetarily.

    If the kid was 12 and wandering around the airport, I’d want to know why my child didn’t turn on his/her cell phone or stop to ask an adult at the gate or one of the TSA agents as I was exiting the secure area. I would have less parental angst directed at the airline and more at my child. (Just basing on my own parenting experience with my own sons at age 12 – not saying everyone’s 12 y.o. is/was equally responsible at that age.)

    I would definitely want my fee refunded in either case.

  • TonyA_says

    If you go to Delta’s site, you will see a form that the parent or guardian must fill up.
    We used Delta from LGA to TYS because they flew direct. No way will I send a young kid to connect unless they know the area well enough.
    In the form you must ALSO indicate the name of the person (plus address and phone #) picking up your kid at the other end (ARRIVAL).
    The process is quite tedious and that is OK with us because it meant our kid would likely be more secure.
    Most of the time it is the parent(s) that screw up and then blame the airline. But the idea of not having the unaccompanied kid not coded in the PNR is rubbish since you pay the ADULT fare plus a $100 fee. Only way to autoprice that is to declare the child a Unn (nn=age) Passenger type. From then on there is a record that the kid is a UMNR.

  • Michael__K

    All I had to do was go to the check-in desk, say “Can I get a gate pass to meet my 12 year old at the gate”

    Do they ask for the name of your 12 year old and look them up in the computer? Or is the policy to give gate passes, to anyone who asks for one, with no confirmation and no questions asked?

    I haven’t picked up unaccompanied minors, but I could have used a “gate pass” once when I discovered we left an item behind after arrival. I wasn’t offered a gate pass. The airline had to send someone to look.

  • TonyA_says

    As I said earlier, I got too lazy to get a pass and just talked to the TSA agent in LGA. Just tell them you are there to pick up a kid, show your Tri-State DL, bang, you’re in the line. How complicated can this be? I wonder where that woman was when the flight arrived? I was suppose to be in the gate waiting.

  • TonyA_says

    The same way you got your comment in.

    They use a keyboard and key it in.

  • emanon256

    Maybe she arrived to late, or did you say that too? :) Also, he could have hoped off the plane early. Some UMs run off the plane when they are supposed to stay. Did the mom call him I see minors with cell phones all the time now too. Too many unknowns here. In my opinion, the full cash refund she already got was enough. The $100 extra in a voucher is above and beyond unless further details come out. I could be proven wrong if I find out that a 4 year old was wandering around the airport for hours looking for Mommy and the airline refused to help.

  • TonyA_says

    Sometimes I wonder about these folks. Why not just accompany the kid?

  • jmtabb

    Well, sure I had to give the name of the passenger and show my ID. But my last name didn’t have to match – my last name does not match my grandfather’s last name.

    Surely the kid traveler was manifested on the flight (even if he wasn’t manifested as a UM). If he wasn’t manifested on the flight at all there is a much bigger problem here.

    And to Joe – yes, if he had been ticketed as a UM, he would not have been allowed to leave the gate until one of the adults listed on his UM paperwork had presented themselves at the gate, with their ID. Yes, the airlines takes multiple contact numbers and starts calling every number on the list less than 5 minutes after disembarkation. So there’s no question the airline missed something if they let the kid walk away from the gate.

    My guess is that the kid traveler was old enough that UM was possible, but not required, and the person that took the kid to the airport didn’t arrange for the UM paperwork at check-in. But then whose fault is that?

  • Michael__K

    Surely the kid traveler was manifested on the flight (even if he wasn’t manifested as a UM).

    I’d like to think so too but I wouldn’t make any assumptions….

  • TonyA_says

    Is there a kid lost and found in the airport ?
    Sorry folks but I find it insane to believe that one can find a surrogate parent for a hundred bucks.
    If you don’t want to risk your kid traveling alone, then accompany your kid. It’s that simple. But please do not expect the airline to be a parent.
    Funny how some people expose how foolish they can be to write a consumer advocate about their silly case.

  • emanon256

    Agreed. I would have been thrilled with the outcome if I were the parent. I would have never dreamed of contacting an advocate. I remember as a kid flying back to NY alone a few times a year and leaving the plane alone and walking down to baggage claim to meet my Grandmother, also at LGA. It was never an issue. When I was very young, my mom or a friend flew with me. I was nervous the first time I flew alone, but did just fine. And still today the C terminal at LGA looks exactly the same and always brings back happy memories as I walk down the stairs to baggage claim.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Good info to know. On a recent trip I saw a kid being escorted from the main terminal to his gate via the train. The kid was about 12 and seemed far more at ease than the employee escorting him. Not sure if she was a new hire or what, but I heard her telling the kid she normally didn’t do escorts and it honestly appeared she wasn’t all that familiar with the airport. They were going to get to the gate, but not overly fast or confidently. I thought to myself the parents probably wouldn’t have over-awed to know they’d paid a fair amount extra for that sort of help.

  • Michael__K

    What would be the effect if that was done incorrectly or not at all?

  • bodega3

    The person meeting an UM at the gate, must have their name in the reservation and no substitute is allowed. I do wonder how old the UM was as if he was 5 it would certainly be an issue vs being 10,
    What bothers me more is that the OP got the money back, except the OP had to be the one to put the child on the plane, so the person who handled this at the airport, was the one who would have been refunded. To complain (I would use a stronger word here, but can’t) that the voucher is useless is obscene because the OP won’t be able to use it….oh well. I am more disgusted with this than with the carrier. BTW, OAK to LAX is probably WN.

  • bodega3

    A more important question is, was the child escorted to the gate by the person who brought him to the airport for this flight? If so, then it was in there as fees are documented. Something isn’t right here and it makes me wonder if the OP’s name wasn’t in the paperwork. You can’t substitute. If in doubt, list all possible names for pickup.

  • MarkKelling

    I was thinking along similar lines. What name was used for the child? Did it match what the OP provided to the counter agent when she was trying to get a gate pass? If Her name is one thing and the child stays with a parent with a different last name, who knows what the ticket said or what was entered into the computer. Also, was the OP listed as the person meeting the child correctly?

  • bodega3

    BTW, the poll and this scenario don’t match and yes, that is an issue. The OP hot the UM fee back. The complaint is that the ‘extra’ that was received is to her liking. Two completely different situations.

  • TonyA_says

    I don’t want to think too much into this BUT the sending parent or guardian is responsible for filling up the form. So if they fail to write down the OP’s name on the form (for the pickup on the other end), well, too bad.

    Actually the airline should charge the OP a fine since she was not at the gate to pick up the kid. What are airline employees to be – babysitters?
    As others here have indicated, it is so easy to get a pass.
    I did not even need one at LGA.
    So I can’t figure out what this woman is trying to do.

  • Raven_Altosk

    They refunded the UM fee and gave her a voucher. That seems the appropriate course of action…after that, she smells greedy.

  • TonyA_says

    Be aware that airlines have different UMNR policies.
    Delta’s is one of the strictest. That’s why I like it.

  • jmtabb

    The only problem with this thinking is that it’s possible to get a gate pass to meet a kid traveling alone whether they have the UM paperwork done or not.

    I’ve done it with my daughter. There has never been any question when I go to the check-in desk and ask “can I get a gate pass to accompany my daughter/pick up my daughter at the gate?”. No UM paperwork filled out, no “names on the list” in the computer. They check that she’s manifested on the flight, check my ID and issue the gate pass.

    I’d like to know what airline this was, and how old the kid was. My guess is still that the kid traveler was old enough to not be required to use the UM service, and that all of the paperwork wasn’t done on the departure side.

    But the mom still should have been able to meet the kid at the gate.

  • Michael__K

    fees are documented

    A fee was refunded, so a fee must have been paid at some point.

    You can’t substitute. If in doubt, list all possible names for pickup.

    Tony, jmtabb, and emanon are all claiming “it is so easy to get a pass” without paperwork, and you’re claiming otherwise. It can’t be both ways.

    There could be different policies for different airports, different airlines or different Threat Levels…

  • Bill___A

    It does hurt to ask for more, it brands you and the traveller as unreasonable. Companies are not going to want to set a precedent of paying excessive compensation. A couple of employees screwed up and the company as a whole is refunding the money and providing a voucher. The whole company is not at fault and the issue should be over.

  • jmtabb

    There are two pieces to this:

    1. Getting the gate pass to meet the kid at the gate
    2. Being required to show ID that matches the names on the UM paperwork
    in order for the kid to be released to you.

    #2 is very very strictly enforced, by every airline I’ve experienced – and I’m very happy that it is.

    #1 is not so strictly enforced. Yes, you can get a gate pass if your name isn’t on any paperwork (i.e. – a 12 year old flying alone without the UM designation and fees).

    In my experience, they check to make sure the person you are meeting is manifested on the flight, check my ID, and then issue the gate pass. They might be checking the age of the passenger also (though there were no questions asked when I met my elderly grandfather).

  • Michael__K

    #2 doesn’t seem to have been enforced at all in this case — the child was “released” on his own.

    Isn’t that consistent with the OP’s claim that “there was no record on the computer of him flying as an unaccompanied minor”? (Even though a UM fee was paid?)

  • TonyA_says

    Article does not mention if this was O/W or R/T.
    So maybe the sending (dropping off) parent is not the same as the parent picking up.

    I do not believe the OP that airline did not code the passenger as UMNR if they booked and paid for UMNR.

  • jmtabb

    Yes, I agree. It seems to me that this kid was probably old enough that the UM was not required. I’m guessing that the prepaid UM Fee got somehow overlooked at check-in, the adult who was with him at check in didn’t say anything and he just flew as a regular passenger (not UM).

    My point is that I don’t know of any airlines that refuse to issue a gate pass to meet a minor flying alone, even if they aren’t flying as UM. Even if the kid was flying as a regular passenger the mother should still have been able to get a gate pass and meet him at the gate.

  • bodega3

    She says OAK to LAX and DL has a one way $100 UM fee. WN and AS also fly that routing, but their fees are, much, much less. WN would be $100 for roundtrip/$50 for one way.

  • bodega3

    I haven’t had the experience that Tony has but I have had a client to have someone not on the list, not be able to go to the gate. So what happened yesterday, may not be able to be done today. I quote policy and what happens at the airport, as you well know, can be anything but.

  • bodega3

    I am guessing this was DL as their one way UM fee is $100.

  • Michael__K

    What else could the refunded $100 fee have been for? Could the payment have been mis-processed as some other type of fee?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    A couple of employees screwed up and the company as a whole is refunding the money and providing a voucher. The whole company is not at fault and the issue should be over.

    That makes no sense. The company is ultimately responsible for its employees actions in carrying out their duties. The companyis the one that was entrusted with the kid. The company is the one that received the money for the UM. Its the company that must bear whatever responsibility there is.

  • Bill___A

    Maybe it didn’t but nor does asking for a free return ticket.
    Maybe the company should explain what went wrong and what they have done to prevent it from happening in the future. Fixing their processes so it does not happen again. That would make a lot more sense than giving away free tickets.

  • Jason Hanna

    Not to sound like it’s REALLY a big deal.. but, I hope it was a LITTLE more complicated than your description.. Like.. You had to tell them the name of the flyer and they checked to verify that person was actually on a flight. I mean, kinda cuts the legs off security if anybody can walk up to the gate and get a gate pass.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Depends on the specifics. Without knowing those, we can only speculate. As someone stated ( a bit tongue in cheek), if the kid were five, then all hell would break lose. Probably at lot less so as a teen.

  • MarkKelling

    Various reasons a child travels alone these days too numerous and off topic to go into here.
    I never went anywhere unacompanid when I was a child, there was always some adult relative traveling with me. And I never realized a child could travel unacompanied on a plane until very recently. But given the many unique family arrangements people have these days, I guess it happens more often than anyone would think.

  • TonyA_says

    So likely DL O/W… hmm…
    Maybe this means someone else filed the paperwork on the sending side (departure) since you need to have all that done and submitted when you checked in.
    Maybe ex husband you think: :)

  • TonyA_says

    You still need to clear TSA. So it really depends on the TSA person if he/she will let you through and join the rest of the folks with boarding passes to be examined.
    That is really the purpose of the pass – for the TSA.

  • bodega3

    Yes, something is missing from this story. Exhubby? That would be so mean!

  • jmtabb

    Well, I’ve already answered this above –

    Request the gate pass
    Give the name of the passenger (I always had the flight # available too)
    Show my ID
    Voila – get the gate pass.

    I’ve done it several times. My mother has done it (in OAK) to pick up my daughter. My MIL picked up my nephew similarly (as a teenage passenger not traveling as an UM) at least once a year when he was a teen. Success, many times, over many years, at 4 different airports in the US.

    This is starting to get off track, but no it doesn’t “cut the legs off security” – you still have to go through security. Everyone still gets scanned/metal detected or groped to get through. Everyone still gets all of their belongings x-rayed and everyone still can only take their 3 oz liquid containers in a zip lock bag….

    And no-one has said it yet, but there was another option if she absolutely had to get through security to meet her kid. She could have bought a walk-up, fully refundable airplane ticket for later in the day in order to get a boarding pass. Pick up the kid, then turn in the ticket and request a refund.

  • TonyA_says

    If a designated parent or guardian is NOT at the gate for pickup then that party has violated the terms of the agreement. It clearly states you need to be at the gate. So I do not understand what the OP wants the airline to do? Take the kid to an ice cream parlor and wait for mom there?
    Where you can hold a kid in an airport after the deplaning? Everybody starts walking to the exit or the baggage claim. So if you are not there to claim you kid, then your kid will probably be walking with everyone else :)

  • TonyA_says

    I just want to be clear. I went through TSA without a pass. BUT the airline agent will require you show ID to claim your kid even if your kid looks like a carbon copy of you :)

  • jmtabb

    I agree with TonyA – IF the UM paperwork was done, then the only people that will be allowed to pick up the kid are the people listed on the form.

    If the UM paperwork was done and the kid was allowed to wander the airport alone, that’s a pretty serious problem.

    But I still think we’re dealing with a kid who was old enough that the UM service was not required – you could pay for it if you wanted to, but didn’t have to. The OP paid for it (perhaps prepaid for it with the ticket??) but whoever dropped the kid off at the airport didn’t do any of the paperwork or mention the UM status to the check-in agent, and the check-in agent didn’t see it on the ticket record in the computer. So the kid was checked-in as a standard, non UM passenger.

    If that happened, then there’s no ID check to pick up the kid at the gate. There’s also no list of names authorized to pick up the kid. And it’s still possible to get a gate pass to meet the kid when he gets off the plane even if you don’t have to show ID to walk away with him.

  • TonyA_says

    Apparently Delta has this. I did not know this till I read about it:

    Delta Sky Zone

    The Delta Sky Zone is a secure area where unaccompanied children can
    wait for connecting flights, use complimentary phones to contact
    parents/guardians and take advantage of entertainment and activities
    like books, TV, games and toys. Staffed by Delta Air Lines employees to
    ensure children feel secure and comfortable, the Delta Sky Zone is
    located in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York-JFK, Los Angeles,
    Memphis, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

    Hmmm.. free babysitting.

  • JeannieB

    How old was the child? 14? 9? I’d think if she didn’t feel he was mature enough to know to ask an airline employee for help, he shouldn’t be traveling alone. We all have a certain degree of responsibility, don’t we?

  • Michael__K

    I don’t know of any airlines that refuse to issue a gate pass to meet a minor flying alone, even if they aren’t flying as UM

    bodega reports that it happened to one of his/her clients. We can doubt that too, or we can accept that our own personal experiences might not perfectly correspond with someone else’s experience on a particular day at a particular airport with a particular airline.

  • bodega3

    If the paperwork is filled out showing who may pick an UM up and the airline let anyone else in, who is not on the list and take the child, I can only imagine what would hit the fan, can’t you? I am guessing that those who get in didn’t pay a fee for the UM service where their name is on the list. My own kids flew as UM, many years ago and one carrier let one of the kids, who was 8 years of age, leave with us with no checking of our ID. The FA said, ‘well I guess since he recognizes you, it is ok for him to go with you’. We had filled out paperwork on who would be picking him up but it was never checked upon arrival. Back then there was no fee and no TSA security and we were just waiting by the gate when the plane arrived..

  • Michael__K

    I agree, the gate access policy should be followed. I think it’s silly for people to doubt the OP on the basis that the policy was not strictly followed in their own personal experiences.

  • chickadee

    Interesting — my daughters had to fly twice a year as unaccompanied minors, and I have never been able to get past security without passes. Maybe it depends on the airport — they’ve always flown between Philadelphia International and DFW, so they may be stricter. Once my husband and I were taking his children to their gate as UMs and they wouldn’t let me through because I wasn’t their mother. I had to wait outside of the secured area until the flight departed.

  • chickadee

    When you pay the UM fee, you have to give a contact number for the adult making the pickup, as well as their driver’s license number. The airline is not supposed to let a child loose without seeing ID.

  • TonyA_says

    I do have an interesting observation. The farther you are from the old win towers site, the stricter the airport :) My mother-in-law always had her toothpaste confiscated in Little Rock but not here in LGA/JFK/HPN.