The family of a 13-year-old girl claims that Alaska Airlines lost their daughter during a layover in San Francisco last week even after paying an unaccompanied minor fee for her travels.
Maria and Douglas Davila’s daughter traveled by herself on a cross-country flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina to Spokane, Washington, last week, Fox News reported.
But her plane had to make a stopover at San Francisco International Airport due to a mechanical issue, leaving the teen alone at the layover airport.
The teen said she was left alone without supervision or direction from Alaska Airlines crew during her layover and was frightened until a passerby lent her his cell phone to call home.
“It’s hard when you hear your son or daughter say ‘I’m by myself in San Francisco,’” Douglas told WTVD. “My heart was in my throat. I was shaking.”
She eventually made it to the customer service counter. Not too long after she made it to the customer service counter, Maria claimed the family received a phone call from an Alaska Airlines crew member who told them a different story.
“[They said] she was lost, not even stating she was alone, just acting as if there was an issue with the flight,” the mom said, adding that the airline employee asked the parents’ permission to place the girl on another flight.
The couple felt frustrated, as they had paid a $75 unaccompanied minor fee to ensure their daughter would be guided throughout her trip. The fee was supposed to include a guardian contact and a gate escort through her trip, according to the airline’s policy stated on its website.
The airline released the following statement on the incident:
“Our investigation, which includes specific records that tracked the movement of our young guest, indicates employees did meet her when her flight arrived and escorted her to our Service Center at San Francisco International Airport,” Alaska Airlines told a San Francisco television station. “While we had tabs on our young guest the entire time, we understand that she may have felt unsupervised in the crowded area and for that we are deeply sorry. We also think we could have done a better job communicating with her.”
The airline eventually refunded the $75 fee, but the parents are hoping the airline will refund them the cost of the entire trip.