United Airlines puts unaccompanied minor on a Eurowings flight to Germany instead of a SAS flight to Sweden


Anton, a 14-year-old unaccompanied minor (UM) travelling on 30 June from Raleigh Durham, North Carolina, to New York Newark on United Airlines, then onward with SAS (in codeshare with United Airlines) to Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden, to visit his grandparents, had the time of his life. But not Brenda, his worried mother. What happened? 

At Raleigh, Brenda learned that United would require the teen to travel as an unaccompanied minor. They charged her a $150 fee for the service. Note that United doesn’t usually accept unaccompanied minors on connecting itineraries, let alone international partner itineraries, but they made an exception — and things went very wrong. (source: View from the Wing)

In Newark, a United Airlines representative had to pick up Anton and put him on SAS flight SK904 to Stockholm Arlanda, but he wrongly dropped him on Eurowings flight EW1113 (operated by Brussels Airlines) to Dusseldorf, Germany. Just before take-off – and after Anton told the flight attendants he was on the wrong flight, the Airbus A330 (OO-SFJ) headed back to the gate, as seen on flightradar24 data.

Meanwhile, Brenda unsuccessfully tried to contact United Airlines.

As Anton was too late to catch his SAS flight to Arlanda, the airline rebooked him on another flight via Copenhagen, Denmark …

Seven hours later than scheduled, Anton finally arrived in Sweden. Worried Brenda stayed awake all night to follow up on her son.

Aviation24.be reached out to United Airlines and SAS for a comment.

On the incident, United Airlines said: “The safety and well-being of all of our customers is our top priority, and we have been in frequent contact with the young man’s family to confirm his safety and to apologize for this issue. 

Once Eurowings recognized that he had boarded the wrong aircraft in Newark, the plane returned to the gate – before taking off.  Our staff then assisted the young customer to ensure that he boarded the correct rebooked flight later that evening.  We have confirmed that this young customer safely reached his destination.




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