The mother of a 10-year-old girl said her daughter experienced a frightening experience while flying alone recently.
Miesha Vargas told Business Insider that she and her husband were never notified by American Airlines about her daughter’s connecting flight being canceled on July 18.
The child was traveling from Richmond, Virginia to visit family in Boston and had a layover at John F. Kennedy airport in New York.
Vargas said she only learned of the cancelation when her daughter called “hysterically crying.”
“She called me hysterically crying saying the flight was canceled and I asked her to pass the phone to speak to a gate agent who said they would try to get another flight rebooked that same day,” Vargas said via Business Insider.
An agency worker met the child upon her arrival at JFK at 11:30 a.m. and was set to stay with her until the next available flight at 8:00 p.m., however, family members instead drove six hours to pick the child up at a store at around 5:00 p.m.
The family said the airline was unaware that the child left the airport when her father called a customer service agent after her Boston relatives had already picked her up.
Vargas said she prepared her daughter for the scheduled layover and assured her that her family would be there to pick her up in Boston.
“She was terrified and said she doesn’t want to fly again,” Vargas said via Business Insider. “This experience has destroyed her love of traveling.”
Vargas said it was stressful knowing that her child was stranded at JFK, one of the country’s busiest airports, while her husband was “furious” at the airline for not signing off for the girl to be picked up by their relatives.
“Our family said she was very quiet that night which is not her normal self, she is usually very chatty and bubbly but barely spoke.”
The 10-year-old was reportedly offered a voucher for lunch, but told she needed to pay for dinner with her own money.