Monday, July 26, 2010

Why split custody is stupid...Boy, 9, left stranded by airline at O'Hare for eight hours

Someone forgot to get young solo traveler to his connecting flight


July 26, 2010

By MARY WISNIEWSKI Transportation Reporter /

A 9-year-old boy, traveling alone and heading home to Canada, ended up stranded for eight hours at O’Hare Airport because a United Airlines employee forgot to get him out of the airline’s child-care center and bring him to the gate for his connecting flight.

“He missed his flight — we put him on the next available flight,” Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United, confirmed today.

The boy was identified by The Ottawa Citizen as Julien Reid, 9, who splits his time between his mother’s home in Ottawa and his father’s home in San Francisco, and makes the trip back and forth about six times a year.

He was traveling from San Francisco to Ottawa, arrived in Chicago at 11 a.m. Saturday and was supposed to catch a connecting flight at 1:50 p.m. He was left in a waiting room for unaccompanied minors at O’Hare, watching a videotape on a repeating loop, the Citizen reported.

When Reid’s mother, Genevieve Harte, didn’t see him get off the plane in Ottawa, she called a customer-service line but was unable to get any help, according to the Citizen.

Reid called his mother on his cellphone, and she was able to speak to a United attendant, who told her that no one had come to get Julien to put him on his flight.

McCarthy said that the airline is sorry for what happened and is refunding the child-care fee, as well as providing an undisclosed “goodwill gesture.”

Harte could not immediately be reached for comment.


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