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Spirit Airlines put unaccompanied 6-year-old boy on wrong flight

The child ended up nearly 160 miles from his intended destination in Florida, sending his family into a panic.
Spirit Airlines planes sit on the tarmac
Posted at 2:40 PM, Dec 26, 2023

Spirit Airlines is apologizing after it mistakenly put an unaccompanied 6-year-old boy on the wrong flight to Florida, reports say.

The incident happened Thursday, when the child was supposed to fly from Philadelphia to Fort Myers but was "incorrectly boarded" on a flight to Orlando.

"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," the airline said in a statement obtained by CNN.

Local news station WINK-TV spoke with Maria Ramos, who identified herself as the boy's grandmother.

"They told me, 'No, he's not on this flight. He missed his flight.' I said, 'No, he could not miss his flight because I have the check-in tag,'" Ramos told WINK-TV. "I ran inside the plane to the flight attendant and I asked her, 'Where's my grandson? He was handed over to you at Philadelphia?' She said, 'No, I had no kids with me.'"

She said it was one of the scariest experiences of her life.

Ramos said eventually her grandson—whom she said is named Casper—called to say he landed. Casper was at Southwest Florida International Airport, nearly 160 miles from his intended destination of Orlando International Airport.

Ramos said this was her grandson's first ever flight.

Ramos drove over three hours to reach Casper. Spirit offered to reimburse Ramos for the drive, but she wanted 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?" Ramos asked. "The flight attendant—after mom handed him paperwork—did she let him go by himself? He jumped in the wrong plane by himself?"

In its statement, Spirit said it is investigating the incident.

"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," said the airline.