A North Carolina man says that his 13-year-old daughter was flying on Alaska Airlines when the airline inexplicably, and without telling him, left her unaccompanied while on a layover in San Francisco, Yahoo Lifestyle reports. The girl used a good Samaritan’s cell phone and called her father, sobbing, the dad claims.
Douglas Davila wanted to send his daughter from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to Spokane, Washington, a flight that included a layover in San Francisco. In addition to the regular fare, Davila also paid a $75 “unaccompanied minor fee.”
According to Alaska Airlines’ website, “Once you’ve handed your child over to our care, he or she will remain under supervision at all times.” However, Davila claims that his daughter told him she was never escorted by an Alaska Airlines employee, according to Durham’s WTVD.
In fact, according to Davila’s account, the girl was left alone at San Francisco International Airport for over an hour without anyone looking after her. A stranger, apparently noticing the distraught girl crying, allowed him to use his cell phone to call home, Davila says.
“It’s hard when you hear your son or daughter say, ‘I’m by myself in San Francisco.’ My heart was in my throat. I was shaking.”
A PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE: A flight from RDU took a chaotic turn for a 13 year old who landed in California alone. Douglas and Maria Davila say they paid @AlaskaAir an unaccompanied minor fee, but those services weren’t provided. Story tonight at 11 on #abc11. pic.twitter.com/Bpf3K1HsUw— Akilah Davis (@DavisABC11) August 23, 2019
Alaska Airlines, in a statement, said that the young lady was never actually alone.
“Our guest was asked to wait with employees at the Service Center, as her connecting flight to Seattle was delayed for 1.3 hours due to a mechanical issue. 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.”
Further, the airline said that they are reviewing their procedures for handling unaccompanied minors so that such a thing does not happen in the future. The airline has also promised to refund the $75 unaccompanied minor fee, but Davila wants the entire fare in addition to the unaccompanied minor fee refunded.
This is not the first time that an airline has been accused of failing to properly supervise a minor. In one of the more egregious cases, as reported by The Inquisitr, an Atlanta mother says that Korean Airlines pulled her two sons off of a flight and left them in a foreign city — Seoul, South Korea — where they didn’t speak the language and didn’t know what was going to happen to them. Fortunately, the boys were able to get home safely.