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United Airlines Unconcerned After It Loses a Little Girl

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Imagine putting your 10-year-old daughter on a plane by herself after United Airlines said it would ensure that she arrived safely. Now imagine she goes missing — and the airline doesn’t seem to care.

Back in June, Annie and Perry Klebahn of California sent their daughter to Phoebe to summer camp in Michigan. They paid an unaccompanied minor fee to United, which promised it would help Phoebe switch planes in Chicago.

When the child didn’t arrive at her intended destination in Grand Rapids, MI, the Klebahns were understandably panicked. Numerous calls to United — and hours of being on hold — finally revealed the girl hadn’t made her connecting flight and was still in Chicago, because the service that was supposed to help her had simply “forgotten” about her.

In a letter to United, Perry wrote in part:

She landed and no one came to get her. The attendants were busy and could not help her, she told us. She told them she had a flight to catch to camp and they told her to wait. She asked three times to use a phone to call us and they told her to wait. When she missed the flight she asked if someone had called camp to make sure they knew and they told her “yes—we will take care of it.” No one did. She was sad and scared and no one helped.

It was only after the story went viral and local news stations picked it up that United finally responded, saying in a statement it would refund the girl’s travel costs and adding, “What the [parents] describe is not the service we aim to deliver to our customers … We certainly appreciate their business and would like the opportunity to provide them a better travel experience in the future.”


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