If your child is flying on a plane alone and you pay extra to have them escorted, you expect to get what you pay for, right? Well a Peoria mother said United Airlines didn't come through as she saw her daughter walk off the plane all by herself.
It's a bit of a case of he-said, she-said. But ultimately, United Airlines admits they dropped the ball and said this 11-year-old and her mom should've been treated better.
"I wish somebody would have been there because I would've felt safer," said 11-year-old Victoria, who flew by herself for the first time.
Her mother, Lynda Toraya, said they shelled out $99 to United Airlines to have her escorted.
"They told me she'd be the last one out," Toraya said.
But when her fellow passengers started pouring into the gate at Sky Harbor, Victoria was among the flood of people - without an escort in tow.
"Before I could even hug her, I'm looking for the flight attendant that's supposed to be with her," Toraya said.
She spoke with the flight attendant, and that's when she said things got ugly.
"She blamed it on my daughter, she said she told her to not move," Toraya said. "My daughter said, 'No,' she had come to check on her and see if she was hungry once."
Toraya also said no one asked her for identification once she retrieved her daughter.
We talked with a spokesman at United Airlines on the phone, who told us this was not their best work. He said the flight attendant should have told her to stay on the plane and wait for everyone to get off. The attendant said she did that, but Victoria said she didn't. But the spokesman said they take this seriously and want to make sure parents know this isn't the way they do business. He said they will likely refund her that $99 escort fee. Toraya said even though her daughter got off the plane safely, she's glad United is owning up, so other parents won't worry like she did.
"The reason I'm doing this is because there are a lot of kids a lot younger than her that don't know better," she said.
You may also wonder why Victoria wasn't wearing some gaudy indicator that she was an unaccompanied minor. United Airlines said they did away with those because kids kept taking them off - now they just wear paper wristbands.
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