16-year-old flying solo on Frontier Airlines ends up in Puerto Rico instead of Ohio
(CNN) — A Florida teenager traveling alone was meant to fly to his mother in Ohio on a Frontier Airlines flight, but instead ended up on a flight to Puerto Rico.
The 16-year-old passenger was scheduled to fly from Tampa to Cleveland on December 22, but “mistakenly boarded a different flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico,” Frontier Director of Corporate Communications Jennifer de la Cruz said in a statement to CNN.
The Ohio and Puerto Rico flights departed from the same gate, with the flight to Puerto Rico taking off first, according to de la Cruz.
“Frontier has extended its sincere apologies to the family for the error,” de la Cruz said.
The mix-up comes after a similar recent incident involving an unaccompanied 6-year-old, who got on the wrong Spirit Airlines flight and ended up in Orlando instead of Ft. Myers. The airline said later that the gate attendant who placed the 6-year-old on the wrong flight no longer works for the company following the mix-up.
It was the first solo flight for the teenager, Logan, who suffers from flight anxiety, the teen’s father Ryan Lose told CNN in a phone interview Saturday.
The father said he and his current wife Krista talked the teen through how to go to the gate.
But when Logan got to the gate in Tampa at around 8 p.m., passengers were already boarding, Lose said.
“He went up there and asked the lady if the flight was boarding, and they said, ‘yes,’ and they also checked his bag to make sure it fit,” Lose said. “But Logan said they never scanned his ticket. Logan said they just glanced at it and said, ‘Yes, you’re on the right flight,’ and then he boarded.”
“If they had scanned his boarding pass, they would’ve known my son was on the wrong plane,” Lose said.
CNN reached out to Frontier about Lose’s assertion Saturday night but has not yet received a response.
Lose said they realized something was amiss when Logan’s mother called around 8:30 p.m. to let him know their son had boarded, and they realized he got on a plane too early.
“That’s when my 9-year-old son looked up the flight status and realized that a flight to Puerto Rico had just taken off from the same gate Logan’s Ohio flight was taking off from,” Lose said.
Lose told CNN they tried calling Logan to warn him he was on the wrong plane, but his phone went straight to voicemail.
Lose said they contacted Frontier Airlines around 8:40 p.m. to let them know what was happening and his son was on the wrong flight.
The father said around 10:15 p.m., Frontier called and informed him Logan was indeed on the flight to Puerto Rico and they would let the pilot know to keep an eye out for him.
De la Cruz said in the airline statement Logan “was immediately flown back to Tampa on the same aircraft and accommodated on a flight to Cleveland the following day.”
Lose said Logan made it back to Tampa around 3:30 a.m., and left on a flight to Cleveland at 7:45 a.m.
“This whole ordeal has been stressful for everyone,” Lose told CNN.
Frontier said in the statement they do not have an “unaccompanied minor program” to provide escorts to minors. However, they allow children over the age of 15 to fly alone.
While there are no Department of Transportation regulations around travel for unaccompanied minors, airlines have specific procedures to protect the children during travel, according to the US Department of Transportation. However, most airlines will allow a child to fly alone on domestic flights at age 15 without any unaccompanied minor procedures, the agency said.
News 8’s Michaela Springer contributed to this report.