Boy runs away. Blame the airline!

A 13 year old boy ran away by buying a ticket to Hawaii online with his mother’s credit card. She contacted police, he was detained, and she had him flown home.

She claims she shouldn’t have to pay for the ticket — that the TSA or the airline should have stopped the boy. But the TSA doesn’t require IDs for minors, and the ticket was in his own name anyway. And it hardly seems reasonable for the airline to be expected to call the boy’s mother to verify that he had permission to fly, as this woman apparently expects that they should have done.

Instead, it seems to me that this is a case where the mother failed to supervise her son and failed to protect her credit card. I don’t know the specifics that led to the boy running away, but I’d begin by addressing those issues rather than blaming the airline and the government.

If the purchase was unauthorized, the mother has the option of reporting the purchase to her credit card company — with the possibility of prosecuting her son. But if she’s unwilling to press charges for unauthorized use, the airline can hardly be expected to refund the money.

Nevertheless, Hawaiian Airlines will apparently offer some form of accomodation. That’s good PR for them, no doubt, but the real problem here seems to lie within the family.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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