- American Airlines did not tell the parents of a 10-year-old flying alone that her flight was cancelled.
- Family members picked her up from the airport and the airline didn’t know she was no longer there.
- The child was given lunch vouchers but was told she had to pay for the dinner herself.
A mother said her 10-year-old daughter’s love of travel has been ruined after American Airlines canceled her connecting flight but failed to inform her parents.
The child traveled alone from Richmond, Virginia to visit family in Boston on July 18 with a connection to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
Miesha Vargas, the child’s mother, said she only learned the flight was canceled when her daughter called.
“She called me hysterically crying and said the flight was canceled and I asked her to pass the phone to speak to a gate agent who said they would try to get another flight rebooked for the same day,” she said.
The child was accompanied by an agency worker after she arrived in New York at 11.30am until the airline could put her on the next available flight at 8pm.
Family members who were supposed to pick up the child from the Boston airport instead drove six hours to JFK, where she was handed over at a store at 5 p.m. American Airlines was unaware that she had left the airport when the child’s father called a customer service agent.
Vargas had prepared her daughter for a short layover between flights and assured her that her family would meet her in Boston.
“She was terrified and said she didn’t want to fly again,” the mother said. “This experience has destroyed her love of travel.”
Vargas said it was stressful knowing her daughter was stranded at one of America’s busiest airports, while her husband was “furious” that AA didn’t sign up for their daughter to be picked up by their family.
“Our family said she was very quiet that night which is not her normal self, she is usually very chatty and bubbly but hardly spoke.”
The child, who was flying solo for the first time, was offered a voucher for lunch but was told she would have to pay for the dinner with her own money.
The same airline temporarily lost a 12-year-old unaccompanied child at Miami airport earlier this month. The child’s mother said she was only told by the airline an hour after the plane landed and was found by the child’s father.
American Airlines did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.