A teenage boy from Florida suffered a scare this Christmas after he accidentally boarded the wrong flight and ended up in Puerto Rico rather than Cleveland, Ohio, where he had intended to join his mother for the holiday season.
Logan Lose, 16, waved farewell to his family at Tampa International Airport on the evening of Friday 22 December as he set out nervously for his first solo trip to Cleveland before mistakenly being allowed onto a Frontier Airlines flight to San Juan when a boarding agent failed to look closely at his ticket.
“He went up there and asked the lady if the flight was boarding, and they said, ‘yes,’ and they also checked his bag to make sure it fit,” the boy’s father Ryan Lose told CNN.
“But Logan said they never scanned his ticket. Logan said they just glanced at it and said, ‘Yes, you’re on the right flight,’ and then he boarded.
“If they had scanned his boarding pass, they would’ve known my son was on the wrong plane.”
The confusion appears to have arisen because the Puerto Rico flight left from the same departure gate as the Cleveland plane Lose had intended to catch, albeit two hours earlier.
The family first became aware of their son’s predicament when his mother called from Cleveland to let them know he had safely boarded, which they assumed must be a mistake given that it was too early for his scheduled flight to have taken off.
“That’s when my nine-year-old son looked up the flight status and realised that a flight to Puerto Rico had just taken off from the same gate Logan’s Ohio flight was taking off from,” Mr Lose said.
Unable to access his alarmed family’s voicemail messages, Logan realised what was happening too late and was flown 1,200 miles out of his way.
Arriving in Puerto Rico, he texted his family to alert them to the situation, writing: “Help me please. I’m so scared. They told me it was Ohio.”
“My first reaction was panic,” Mr Lose said. “He’s panicking, he’s scared, and I can’t be there to keep him safe.
“All they had to do was scan the boarding pass and he never boards. Or if they did a head count they would’ve noticed he was not in a seat assigned to that flight.”
Jennifer de la Cruz, Frontier’s director of corporate communications, said: “He was able to board as a result of an error on the part of the boarding agent.
“He was immediately flown back to Tampa on the same aircraft and accommodated on a flight to Cleveland the following day.”
Ms De La Cruz said the airline “extended its sincere apologies to the family for the error” and that Lose had been offered a $200 travel voucher by way of compensation.
But the boy’s father has said he feels the gesture is not sufficient to cover the stress his family endured.
“They offered me a voucher to an airline that just lost my son,” Mr Lose said. “I want accountability. These airlines are not being held accountable.”
The Independent has reached out to Frontier Airlines for further comment.
In a similar incident over the same weekend, an unaccompanied six-year-old boy was placed on the wrong Spirit Airlines flight out of Philadelphia, jetting out to visit his grandmother in Fort Myers, Florida, but ending up in Orlando instead.