Last week, American Airlines was responsible for a 10-year-old girl who was traveling from Richmond, Virginia to Boston. The child had a small layover in NYC which has now “ruined the young girl’s love of travel.” Meisha Vargas, the mother of the child, shared with Business Insider that she took the time to prepare her daughter for the scheduled layover. She assured her daughter that her family would be there to pick her up in Boston. However, when the young girl arrived in New York City her connecting flight was canceled. Not only did American Airline fail to notify the parents about the cancelation, but they also didn’t share re-scheduling flight details. Vargas said she only learned of the cancelation when her daughter called “hysterically crying.”
Here’s what we know:
It’s one thing for self-sufficient adults to experience canceled or delayed flights, it’s a whole different experience for an unaccompanied minor who is unaware of how to navigate international airports. An agency worker met the child upon her arrival at JFK at 11:30 a.m. and was set to stay with her until the next available flight at 8:00 p.m.. The child’s relatives instead decided to take the six-hour drive to JFK to pick her up. The story gets worse when her dad calls the Airline to notify them that she was picked up and finds out that the Airline was unaware the child had left the airport. Vargas said it was stressful knowing her daughter was stranded at one of America’s busiest airports, while her husband was “furious” that AA did not sign off for their daughter to be collected by their family. While at JFK, the 10-year-old was reportedly offered a voucher for lunch but told she needed to pay for dinner with her own money.
This isn’t the first devastating story for unaccompanied, minors traveling with American Airlines this summer. The same airline temporarily lost a 12-year-old unaccompanied child at Miami airport earlier this month. The child’s mother reported the airline only notifies her after the flight landed and was found by the child’s father.