- American Airlines didn’t tell the parents of a 10-year-old flying alone her flight was canceled.
- Family members picked her up from the airport and the airline didn’t know she was not there anymore.
- The child was given lunch vouchers but was told she had to pay for dinner herself.
A mother said her 10-year-old daughter’s love of traveling has been destroyed after American Airlines canceled her connecting flight but failed to inform her parents.
The child was traveling alone from Richmond, Virginia to visit family in Boston on July 18 with a connection at 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 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 rebooked that same day,” she said.
The child was accompanied by an agency worker after she arrived in New York at 11:30 am until the airline could get her on the next available flight at 8pm.
Family members who were set to collect the child from Boston airport instead drove six hours to JFK, where she was handed over at a store about 5pm. American Airlines was unaware 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 was going to meet her in Boston.
“She was terrified and said she doesn’t want to fly again,” her mother said. “This experience has destroyed her love of traveling.”
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.
“Our family said she was very quiet that night which is not her normal self, she is usually very chatty and bubbly but barely spoke.”
The child, who was flying alone for the first time, was offered a voucher for lunch but was told that she would need to pay for dinner using 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 flight landed and was found by the child’s father.
American Airlines did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.