Sending your young child on a plane by themselves is a big deal and one fraught with a lot of anxiety for most moms. So when mom Kathy Kirvan sent her son Owen, 11, on a one-hour flight by himself from Washington D.C., to Newark, New Jersey, to see his grandparents, that decision was not made lightly. Her reassurance came in the form of a $300 unaccompanied minors fee she paid to United Airlines to ensure that an airline representative would be escorting Owen until he was safely with his grandparents.
Except they didn't.
Instead, once the flight landed, Owen was left to fend for himself. Kirvan tells Fox News that she started panicking when Owen texted her that he had landed but that there was no one to tell him where to go or accompany him through the airport. To add insult to injury, his grandfather was given the wrong gate information and couldn't locate Owen. According to Kirvan, no one at United customer service attempted to help the family track him down—they were "left on their own."
"Something could have happened. Someone could have easily come up to him posing as a representative and he would have followed," she says. Luckily, thanks to all of the texts Owen was sending to his mother, his grandfather was able to find him about 30 minutes later.
United claims they are looking into the incident and have released a statement explaining the situation.
"We are reaching out directly to the family to apologize for not fully providing the service they expected. After asking Owen to wait so that she could escort him off the aircraft upon arrival, the flight attendant didn't notice that he had exited with the rest of the customers onboard."
In the meantime, we doubt they'll be flying United again any time soon.