US Airways somehow misplaced two teenagers (14 and 16) who were flying alone from San Diego to Raleigh. Despite promises that the airline would make sure the kids made their connection and that someone would meet them at the gate, US Airways stranded them overnight in Cincinnati, where they had to sleep on cots in the control tower. What happened? US Airways changed their connection while the boys were in the air, then didn’t bother to tell them. From the Raleigh News & Observer (emphasis ours):
When mom took the teens to the airport July 28, there was already trouble. Flight delays made the connection schedule tight.
They hatched plan B: The kids would fly direct from Phoenix to Raleigh on US Airways. The plan was confirmed while the boys were on the first leg of their journey, and an agent was to redirect them in Phoenix.
Tucker tracked their progress online. About 20 minutes after the US Airways flight departed Phoenix for Raleigh, he called the airline and was told that Calvin and Joel were on the flight list.
Two hours later, the phone rang. It was Joel.
” ‘Aren’t you on a plane?’ ” asked an alarmed Tucker. Nobody met the boys in Phoenix and as experienced flyers — they’ve flown cross-country twice a year for about eight years — the teens went to the Delta gate.
They missed their final connection in Cincinnati, and no other flights were headed for Raleigh that night. Joel was on a pay phone, with Calvin running to McDonald’s for change to keep the connection.
“There was a tremendous amount of panic,” Tucker said. “There’s nobody in Cincinnati that I know. It’s definitely panic, alarm and outrage.”
It took Tucker 40 minutes to wind his way through the phone tree at US Airways, which dispatched a representative to find the boys. They were given vouchers for food and taken to the control tower to sleep on cots.
US Airways says “parents request the airline escort when they book tickets, not later as Tucker did.” They received two $250 vouchers for their trouble. (Their flight cost $400.)