Unaccompanied Minor Ends Up in Wrong State After Flight Mix-Up


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — What was supposed to be a normal flight to visit her grandparents for the holidays turned into a confusing mix-up for 9-year-old Chloe Boyce.

The girl’s itinerary was originally supposed to send her from Nashville, Tenn., to LaGuardia Airport airport in New York, making a stop in Baltimore along the way.  Due to a fog condition, a two-hour connection in Columbus, Ohio was added to the flight.  This is where confusion set in for Chloe.

“Chloe often flies by herself to see her grandparents in Connecticut, or her dad in Rhode Island.  We always use Southwest,” says Chloe’s mother, Elena Kerr.

“Whenever she flies alone, we go up to a ticket agent, and the ticket agent goes over the rules with her,” Kerr said.  “We always go over how many stops there will be.”

Chloe knew that this time, two stops were to be made, with the second one being her destination in New York.  When Chloe arrived at the new second stop in Baltimore she got off the plane.

Kerr received a call from her sister who was supposed to pick up Chloe at the airport.

“Where is Chloe?” her sister asked.  “I went into panic mode,” Kerr said.

She called the airline, and after 30 minutes of waiting she finally got a hold of someone.  She was told that she was sent e-mails with the new details of her daughter’s flight.

“I never received a call or e-mail to say what happened to my daughter,” Kerr says.

The airline outlined their policy in this situation, stating that although it is atypical, they attempted to inform the girl’s parents of her new itinerary.

“Our unaccompanied minor policy does not include the contacting of guardians when a flight is delayed or rerouted but we typically do our best to keep guardians notified when a disruption in scheduled service occurs,” the airline said. “Unfortunately, we did not connect with the parents of the customer traveling in this situation.  We are in the process of conducting our own internal investigation to identify why the additional outreach was not made.  We apologize for any concern that the flight disruption may have caused.”

Chloe ended up spending an extra three hours in Baltimore.  Kerr says that once alerted to the situation, a pilot in Baltimore took Chloe off the plane and worked to make her feel at ease.

Kerr says she is debating on whether or not to let her daughter fly Southwest again.

“Southwest was very apologetic,” she says, adding that she has never had a problem with the airline in the past.  Still, she says, “no one has been able to tell me why I wasn’t called.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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