Divorced and separated families have relied for years on airline unaccompanied minor flight programs. A report today indicates that American Airlines (perhaps others) need to offer a little more service to vulnerable travelers.
A report today in the Washington Post described a young girl's distressing contact with another airline passenger while she was traveling as an unaccompanied minor on an American Airlines flight. In plain view of others, including attendants, he groped an unaccompanied 13-year-old girl.
According to the Post:
"Chad Cameron Camp had his choice of seats on the half-empty American Airlines flight from Dallas to Portland, Ore. But Camp, 26, curiously chose a middle seat — right next to an unaccompanied 13-year-old girl, the FBI said in a statement.
"Flight attendants offered to move Camp to another seat where he would have more room, but he declined.
“ 'No, I’m fine,” he said, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Washington Post..
" 'When a flight attendant returned for drink service a half hour later, she saw Camp’s hand on the teenager’s crotch, according to the complaint.' "
That was when an attendant finally assisted the young girl and removed Camp to another seat,
In a July 2015 incident, also on American Airlines, a young girl was allegedly inappropriately touched by a 50-year-old doctor who was seated next to her. “I can’t move cause the seat belt sign is on and I want to get away,” the girl said in desperate texts to her mother, the Associated Press reported. “Mommy, I’m scared.”
American Airlines describes its unaccompanied minor program on its website as follows:
“Our unaccompanied minor service is to ensure your child is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination.”
In August 2014, American Airlines began requiring parents to pay $150 extra each way for unaccompanied minors ages 12-14 to fly. Previously, only unaccompanied minors ages 4-11 were required to use the service.
“This age range not only ensures the safest possible travel for our youngest customers, it’s consistent with US Airways policy before the close of our merger,” American told its employees, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Obviously, American Airlines needs to formulate some better guidelines for attendants to protect the youngsters on its flights.