A concerned father is speaking out against Frontier Airlines after he accused the company of mishandling his two kids, who were minors, when they flew alone from Des Moines, Iowa to Orlando on July 22.
Chad Gray claimed he was not told by the airline that his daughter Etta, 7, and 9-year-old son Carter's flight heading to the Sunshine State would be grounded in Atlanta for an overnight stop due to severe weather conditions.
According to Chad, 42, his kids were being chaperoned by a Frontier employee and placed in a hotel room with four kids who were also unaccompanied on the flight. "I know they were a little frightened, scared, and nervous," he told NBC's Today.
Loss of Communication Between Chad & Frontier Airlines:
When Chad spoke with Atlanta-based CBS, he revealed that he called the gate agents at Frontier seeking answers. He later found out that a decision was made at 2 a.m. to take his son and daughter to the Holiday Inn, but the airlines failed to notify him of their plan. He also pointed out that his kids were driven by a Frontier staff member in their personal vehicle.
The worried dad also told CBS that he was only contacted about the delayed flight after midnight by his son. How? His son had to borrow a cellphone from another kid. "For Frontier to leave that messaging in the hands of seven and nine-year-olds, to me, is really unacceptable," Gray added.
When at the hotel, the "unaccompanied minors" were allegedly only given Rice Krispie treats and water. "[The flight] was really a disaster," he explained to the Orlando Sentinel. "I think there needs to be set policies and procedures put in place [...] I think they probably escaped this incident with very little damage, but that may not be the case if it happens again."
Frontier Airlines' Response:
In response to the Gray's public concern, a spokesperson for Frontier Airlines issued the following statement:
"We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible. We continued the flight the following morning, and in keeping with Frontier's policy, the children were attended to at all times by a Frontier supervisor, placed in a hotel room overnight, and provided with food. Our records show that the children were in contact with their mother before being transported to the hotel and with their father the following morning before leaving on the continued flight. We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible."
The father of two has denied that there was any communication between him and the airline, deeming this situation "just not acceptable." He told the Sentinel: "They should have been overly protective of these children."
According to Chad, the kids were eventually given a meal the next morning in the form of a McDonald's breakfast voucher they could use before boarding their flight.
Chad concluded: "They could have made sure the kids were comfortable and really reached out to make contact with the parents."
Parents were definitely divided over the issue on social media. For some, the airlines did more than enough by ensuring the safety of the kids during the unforeseen layover.
Others blamed the parents for not flying with their kids — or at least providing them with a cellphone.
Do you think airlines should reevaluate their policies for unaccompanied minors?