Ultra low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines almost recreated the plot of the 1992 film ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ when it flew a six-year-old child to the wrong city.
The boy, flying alone as an unaccompanied minor, was going to visit his grandmother in Southwest Florida for the holidays.
The boy was booked on a flight from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers.
On December 21, 2023, when the boy arrived at the airport, Spirit Airlines mistakenly boarded him onto a flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) instead, 260 kilometers from RSW airport.
When the boy’s grandmother arrived at RSW airport to pick him up, she was astonished to find that there were no unaccompanied minors on the flight from Philadelphia.
“I ran inside the plane to the flight attendant and I asked her, ‘Where’s my grandson? He was handed over to you in Philadelphia?’ She said: ‘No, I had no kids with me,’” the boy’s grandmother, Maria Ramos, told WINK News.
Airline employees eventually traced the boy’s whereabouts and, after speaking to their colleagues at Orlando Airport, accompanied Ramos on a four-hour car ride to Orlando.
Ramos told WINK News that she no longer wanted to put her grandson on another flight, so opted to drive instead.
The boy and his grandmother were later reunited and although she was reimbursed for gas expenses by Spirit Airlines, Ramos said she still wants answers.
“I want them to call me. Let me know how my grandson ended up in Orlando. How did that happen? Did they get him off the plane? The flight attendant – after Mom handed him paperwork – did she let him go by himself? He jumped in the wrong plane by himself?” asked Ramos.
Spirit Airlines issued a statement to media outlets confirming the child was “incorrectly boarded” and that it is conducting an internal investigation.
The statement reads: “On Dec. 21, an unaccompanied child traveling from Philadelphia (PHL) to Fort Myers (RSW) was incorrectly boarded on a flight to Orlando (MCO). The child was always under the care and supervision of a Spirit Team Member, and as soon as we discovered the error, we took immediate steps to communicate with the family and reconnect them. We take the safety and responsibility of transporting all of our Guests seriously and are conducting an internal investigation. We apologize to the family for this experience.”