Jet Blue initiated a new program which allows parents and/or guardians to book unaccompanied children as young as 5 years of age on nonstop flights for an additional $100. Seems like a great deal, right?
In essence, it is an awesome deal, however, after what happened on the afternoon of August 17th, I’m pretty sure most people will have second thoughts about using this program in the near future.
Maribel Martinez, a 38-year-old mom from New York, was in total distress after she realized that Andy, her 5-year-old son, was put on the wrong Jet Blue flight. Martinez discovered the error hours after he’d already landed in another city! Andy was flying from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to New York City’s JFK airport after a visit with family but landed in Boston instead.
When did the confusion begin?
While awaiting Andy’s arrival that afternoon, Martinez was greeted by a different boy who arrived with her son’s passport and luggage in hand. Totally confused and full of anxiety, Martinez immediately notified the flight crew once she realized that there was obviously a huge mistake.
“This is not my child,” Martinez told authorities.
Once the airline officials tracked down Andy’s whereabouts 3 grueling hours later, they immediately sent both boys back on board, headed to their appropriate final destinations.
Martinez will never forget the feeling she had after thinking her son had been kidnapped.
“I was freaking out. I didn’t know if he was alive. I still haven’t stopped crying.”
Thankfully, Martinez and Andy were successfully reunited that same day amidst all the horrendous confusion.
In the new age of mobility…
It’s very common for children to travel alone, especially during the summer. This is just an example of the conveniences parents have when in comes down to travel options. If Jet Blue expects consumers to utilize this new travel approach , they definitely need a better system of checks and balances along with proof of greater accountability efforts.
Martinez’s lawyer is not happy!
According to Sanford Rubinstein, Martinez’s lawyer, a public apology was never given to the New York mom for this incident. After the incident, Jet Blue refunded Martinez’s airline ticket in the amount of $475 along with $2,100 in travel credit toward future flights. Martinez, however, clearly stated that she doesn’t plan on flying with the airline ever again!
As far as Andy’s concerned, saying that this ordeal was frightening is probably an understatement. By the way, Rubinstein isn’t having all that jazz and is actively pursuing the case further as well as Martinez who wrote a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requesting an individual investigation into the incident. For Andy, I’m pretty sure this will be his last solo flight for a very long time.