NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — JetBlue is investigating after two boys traveling alone separately from the Dominican Republic ended up flying to the wrong cities.
On Aug. 17, 5-year-old Andy Martinez was returning home in the custody of JetBlue from a family visit and was put on the wrong flight in Santiago, attorney Sanford Rubenstein said.
Andy ended up in Boston, while the boy who was supposed to fly there ended up at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where Andy’s mother feared the worst as she waited for the airline to find her boy.
“A mother’s worst nightmare came to life for Maribel Martinez,” Rubenstein told 1010 WINS. “The mother thought he was kidnapped and he was scared.”
Rubenstein said it was three hours before Andy was returned to his mother.
“This never should have happened,” Rubenstein said. “JetBlue employers should be ashamed of themselves and JetBlue needs to take a hard look at how this happened.”
Martinez said she did everything right, even paying the extra $100 fee to have her son accompanied by a flight attendant since he was traveling alone. She said hours passed before JetBlue finally realized teh error and connected her with her son by phone.
“I am told he is not there and I say, ‘Oh my God, where he at?” Martinez said, as reported by CBS2’s Jessica Moore. “He said, ‘Oh mommy, I was put on another airplane.’ When he came back he had a lot of stomach pain in his knee.”
JetBlue said upon learning of the error, they immediately took steps to assist the children in reaching their correct destinations.
The airline issued a statement, apologizing to both families and saying it is reviewing how it handles unaccompanied minors.
“While the children were always under the care and supervision of JetBlue crewmembers, we realize this situation was distressing for the families,” JetBlue said. “In addition to extending our apologies, we refunded the flights and offered the families credit towards future JetBlue flights. We are also reviewing the incident with our leadership and Santiago airport team to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.”
The child who ended up in New York was carrying Andy’s passport, the Daily News reported.
Rubenstein said he will be calling for an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“JetBlue investigating itself doesn’t accomplish much, but we hope at least they can take some internal measures to change whatever procedures they have,” Rubenstein said.
JetBlue has also offered the Martinez family $2,000 in future flight vouchers, but the family declined saying they won’t be using the airline again.