Fort Worth

Airline wouldn't let Arlington mom escort 11-year-old son to gate at DFW Airport

A Frontier plane in Denver. An Arlington mother said a Frontier attendant denied her a temporary boarding pass for her 11-year-old son's flight from DFW Airport to Denver on Friday morning.
A Frontier plane in Denver. An Arlington mother said a Frontier attendant denied her a temporary boarding pass for her 11-year-old son's flight from DFW Airport to Denver on Friday morning. Associated Press

Alison Fawthrop's 11-year-old son has been flying on his own for six years, often traveling from DFW Airport to Denver to see his father.

Each time, the Arlington mother and her son go through the same routine: She'll check him into his flight, receive a temporary boarding pass and escort him to his gate, making sure he gets there safely.

Friday morning, that wasn't an option for her son's flight on Frontier Airlines.

A Frontier counter attendant, Fawthrop said, denied her a temporary boarding pass, even though Fawthrop had paid the unaccompanied minor fee of $110 each way when she booked the flight. Her son was traveling to Denver to spend Thanksgiving with his father.

A Frontier spokesman told the Star-Telegram on Friday afternoon that the company was gathering information about what happened.

Several other parents at the counter were also denied temporary boarding passes, Fawthrop said.

Frontier's policy, like most airlines, is to issue one "gate pass" for a guardian of an unaccompanied minor passenger. The pass allows guardians to escort the child through security and to their gate.

"It's online -- parents are required to stay with the child until the child leaves," Fawthrop said. "That's what we paid for, but the employee wouldn't let anyone have gate passes. I'm not OK with that."

When the parents asked the counter attendant why they were being denied passes, the attendant pointed them in the direction of an airport police officer and walked away, according to a video taken by Fawthrop's son.

Fawthrop and the other parents were left to decide between buying a ticket with another airline or letting their children go through security and on to their gate alone.

"It was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen," said Fawthrop, who said she had never experienced a similar issue before.

A Frontier spokesman said Friday night that it appeared that an unaccompanied minor passenger was not noted on Fawthrop's reservation, which is required to receive a gate pass. An email check-in reminder that Fawthrop received on Thursday, though, noted that her ticket was for an unaccompanied minor.

Frontier had refunded Fawthrop for the ticket by Friday night, the spokesman said.

Ryan Osborne: 817-390-7684; Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST

A video that has gone viral on Facebook shows a TSA agent patting down a boy at DFW airport. Jennifer Williamson, the boy’s mother, posted the video to Facebook on Sunday morning, writing that she was “livid” at the TSA agent who detained her son.

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