Spirit Airlines says team member put 6-year-old on the wrong plane

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
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Answers are finally coming in about how a 6-year-old flying on Spirit Airlines ended up lost at an airport hundreds of miles from where his family was waiting for him.

Casper’s family said they dropped him off with a Spirit Airlines team member in Philadelphia, where he was supposed to board a plane destined for Fort Myers.

However, Casper would later call his grandmother from Orlando, wondering why she wasn’t there.

Spirit said the gate agent in Philadelphia put Casper on the wrong plane and no longer works for the company.

Although it took almost a week to get to the bottom of what happened, Maria Ramos, Casper’s grandmother, is happy the airline took action.

“I’m happy about getting answers after seven days,” said Ramos.

That’s because, for a week, Ramos had no idea how Casper, her 6-year-old grandson, wound up on the wrong Spirit flight, a flight landing hundreds of miles away from Casper’s family.

Spirit Airlines finally completed its investigation.

“They called me, and they told me, ‘I’m sorry, it’s our mistake.’ I guess they looked at the camera,” said Ramos.

Even though Ramos is happy to know how it happened, she wants to see it for herself.

“I want more, and I really want to see videos. I really want to see videos. I’m working with Spirit Airlines to get back with more answers,” said Ramos.

That’s because when an unaccompanied child gets on a plane, there are a lot of steps. In Casper’s case, something went wrong at the gate, which former flight attendant and CEO of Travelers Care Shelly-Ann Cawley knows all too well.

“You check in at the ticket counter with your child, you go through security, you get a boarding pass, you take your child to the gate, and you’re supposed to wait until that plane takes off,” said Cawley.

Spirit Airlines guidelines clearly indicate they recommend the child’s parent or guardian stay an extra 15 minutes after take off.

But contrary to what some people may think, a flight attendant won’t be beside that child for the entire flight.

“Most airline policy will tell you, if you look at their contract of carriage, it will say the flight attendant will check on your child, time permitting,” said Cawley. “Their primary duty is not just that child. It’s the 100, 150, or 280 passengers on board that airplane.”

Despite the ordeal being over, Ramos said she is very nervous about everything but happy she has begun to get answers. She hopes this never happens to anyone ever again.

Below is Spirit Airlines’ full statement:

“We take the safety and responsibility of transporting all our Guests seriously, and we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this type of situation from happening. To better understand what occurred, we immediately launched a thorough internal investigation and discovered that a gate agent in Philadelphia (PHL) escorted the child to the incorrect aircraft. This agent is no longer working with Spirit, and any individual whose actions resulted in the incorrect boarding will be held accountable for failing to follow our procedures. We are also reiterating our procedures to the team, and we are in communication with the child’s family about this matter.”

Click here to learn more about Spirit Airlines’s travel guidelines for unaccompanied minors.

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