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2nd child taken to wrong airport, Continental confirms



http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6483198.html

2nd child taken to wrong airport, Continental confirms
By SHANNON BUGGS HOUSTON CHRONICLE
June 16, 2009, 5:25PM

An 8-year-old Continental Express passenger flying unaccompanied from
Houston on Saturday ended up in the wrong destination, the second such
case over the weekend confirmed by Houston-based Continental Airlines.

Continental Airlines contracts with other companies for Continental
Express flights.

The College Station girl, traveling alone on a Continental Express
commuter flight departing from Bush Intercontinental Airport, ended up
in Fayetteville, Ark. instead of her destination of Charlotte, N.C.

The next day, an unaccompanied 10-year-old girl boarded a Continental
Express plane at Boston=92s Logan airport and landed in Newark, N.J.
instead of her intended destination of Cleveland.

Both Continental Express flights were operated by ExpressJet under
contract with Continental.

In a statement today, Continental spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said both
incidents occurred when flights with different destinations were
loaded simultaneously from the same doorway., and that
"miscommunication among staff members resulted in the child being
boarded on the wrong aircraft."

"In both circumstances the children were supervised throughout the
entire process and were rebooked and routed to the proper destinations
on the same day," Cripe said in the e-mailed statement.

"Continental has clear procedures to assist children traveling alone
and we take the responsibility very seriously," the statement said.
"We have also taken immediate action to reinforce to  airport
representatives that they must closely adhere to established
procedures."

Wendy Babineaux, a College Station resident and mother of the
8-year-old, said her daughter was on her way to visit her father,
Babineaux=92s ex-husband, when she was detoured to the Arkansas airport,
sent back to Intercontinental in Houston and then flown to Charlotte.

=93I have never seen so much incompetence in all my life,=94 Babineaux said=
.

On Monday=97before hearing about the Sunday foul-up on the flight from
Boston=97Babineaux hired attorney Wayne Rife to help her and her former
husband get a full refund from the airline for the cost of the airline
ticket and present their concerns to federal authorities.

=93We shouldn=92t have to pay anything because it was Continental messed
up,=94 Babineaux said. =93We shouldn=92t have to pay for the mess they put
my child through. It=92s not so much the money. It=92s the neglect that
they showed my child.=94

Continental said in its statement that it has apologized to both
families and is "working with them" to resolve the situations, but did
not elaborate about what compensation, if any, would be offered.

The father of the 10-year-old involved in the Boston incident said the
airline offered to refund the $75 unaccompanied minor fee, and
indicated he did not consider that adequate.

shannon.buggs@xxxxxxxxx

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