Wilmington dad upset with new airline policy for unaccompanied minors

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A small change to a major airline’s policy is causing some big problems for one Wilmington dad.

The father of 13-year-old twins says he’s been flying his kids from Wilmington to Detroit with a connection in Charlotte ever since he moved here in January. But he says a new airline policy now makes that trip impossible.

US airways spokesman josh freed says since September 3rd, the airline has a new policy when it comes to unaccompanied minors on flights.

“Children 5-14 have to pay the unaccompanied minor fee which is an addition $150 and they also then cannot make connection flights on US Airways,” Shawn Bunge said.

For Bunge, paying $300 round-trip for his kids in addition to their ticket prices is only a small part of the bigger problem.

“There are no direct flights from for any airline from Detroit to Wilmington,” Bunge explained.

Bunge says the only alternative is driving two and a half hours to Raleigh where there is a direct flight from RDU to Detroit.

“I can’t do a three-day weekend with them anymore because its 16 hours back and forth just to get them to and from the airport, and time off work,” Bunge said.

And he says he is not the only one feeling the effects of this change.

“This policy not only hurts our ability to see our kids, but may make it so some families can’t see their kids anymore”

Airline officials say they are just trying to provide the safest travel for minors.

Officials say this policy changed back in January when US Airways and American Airlines merged. The policy allowed kids over 12-years-old to travel alone. And now it’s been changed back to their old policy, before the merger.

Wilmington International Airport Director of Operations Gary Broughton says it’s his understanding based on a conversation with an airline representative that the policy might change to allow connecting flights for minors age 8 and older, at least locally.

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