- American Airlines did not tell the parents of a 10-year-old child flying alone that his flight had been cancelled.
- Her family members picked her up from the airport and the airline didn’t know she was gone.
- The child received vouchers for lunch, but was told she had to pay for dinner herself.
A mother has said her 10-year-old daughter’s love of travel was destroyed after American Airlines canceled her connecting flight but did not notify her parents.
The child was traveling alone from Richmond, Va., to visit family in Boston on July 18 with a connection at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
Miesha Vargas, the child’s mother, said she only learned the flight had been canceled when her daughter called.
“She called me hysterically crying saying 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 booked the same day” , she said.
The child was accompanied by an agency employee after arriving in New York at 11:30 a.m. until the airline could board him on the next available flight at 8 p.m.
Family members who were to pick up the child from the Boston airport instead drove six hours to JFK, where she was delivered to a store around 5 p.m. American Airlines was unaware she had left the airport when the child’s father called a customer service agent.
Vargas had prepared his 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 anymore,” her mother said. “This experience destroyed his love of travel.”
Vargas said it was stressful knowing his daughter was stranded in one of America’s busiest airports, while her husband was ‘furious’ that AA hadn’t signed 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 state, she is usually very talkative and bubbly but barely speaks.”
The child, who was flying alone for the first time, was offered a voucher for lunch but was told she would have to pay for 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 not notified by the airline until an hour after the flight had landed and was found by the child’s father.
American Airlines did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.