JetBlue Puts Kids On Wrong Planes In Unaccompanied Minor Switcheroo

Image courtesy of Boss Meg

It sounds like a classic movie switcheroo, but it’s one that gave the families of two five-year-old boys a bit of a real-life scare: JetBlue apparently confused the children, putting a boy who was supposed to go New York City on a flight to Boston, and a boy meant for Boston on a plane to New York City.

The NYC mom flew to the Dominican Republic on July 28 with her five-year-old son, returning to the U.S. after a week and leaving her child with relatives. She bought a return ticket for him for Aug. 17 and paid JetBlue’s $100 unaccompanied minor fee so someone would escort him onto his plane, reports the New York Daily News.

So imagine her surprise when a boy who was not her son was trotted up to her and presented as such.

“No, this is not my child,” she recalled telling JetBlue employees of the boy who was carrying her son’s passport.

Port Authority police in New York questioned the boy who’d arrived at JFK, while JetBlue tracked down the boy who was supposed to be there instead. But in the three hours it took to locate him, his mom said she lost her mind, and thought he was kidnapped.

“I was freaking out,” she told the Daily News. “I didn’t know if he was alive. I still haven’t stopped crying.”

JetBlue eventually found him in Boston and he was placed on the next flight to JFK, while the other boy also made his way back home. The airline didn’t explain how the switcheroo happened, despite the fact that the New York boy’s mom said he was wearing a wristband with his name on it.

“Two unaccompanied children of the same age traveling separately from Santiago, Dominican Republic, one to New York JFK and one to Boston — each boarded a flight to the incorrect destination,” JetBlue said in a statement. “Upon learning of the error, our teams in JFK and Boston immediately took steps to assist the children in reaching their correct destinations. While the children were always under the care and supervision of JetBlue crew members, we realize this situation was distressing for their families.”

The NYC boy’s mom said she never received any explanation or an apology, but JetBlue did refund her $475 for the flight and gave the family $2,100 in credit for future flights. She says the airline shouldn’t have bothered, since she will never fly on it again. She’s also hired a lawyer to take legal action against JetBlue.

“Any parent can understand the terrifying fear a mother goes through knowing that her child is missing,” her attorney told the paper. “This never should have happened and the JetBlue employees should be ashamed of themselves.”

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EXCLUSIVE: JetBlue puts child on wrong flight, sends him to Boston as horrified mom waits at JFK; ‘I thought he was kidnapped’ [New York Daily News]