Two young girls on their way to see loved ones wound up alone in strange cities after Continental airline employees escorted them onto the wrong airplanes in separate incidents last weekend.
The first victim was 8-year-old Taylor Williams from Texas who was heading to North Carolina to visit her dad, but wound up in Arkansas, according to the Houston Chronicle. Her mother, who had paid extra for her child to travel in the unaccompanied minors program, brought her to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport and left her in the care of an airline employee who directed the girl onto the incorrect aircraft.
“I have never seen so much incompetence in all my life,” said Taylor's mom, Wendy Babineaux.
The next day on the other side of the country, Jonathan Kamens escorted his 10-year-old daughter Miriam to her Continental flight in Boston's Logan airport. He walked her all the way up to her gate and watched her walk through the boarding door, according to WCVBTV Boston. Her grandparents were expecting her at the Cleveland airport so they could take her to horsebackriding camp, but she didn't get off the plane. She was in Newark, N.J.
"For 45 minutes I was panic stricken," Kamens said.
"The flight crew on the Cleveland flight was supposed to check that they had the right number of passengers, and they didn't do that," the dad added. "The number of people who must have failed to do what they're supposed to do is mind boggling."
Continental eventually flew the girls to their intended destinations and issued the following e-mailed statement:
"In both circumstances the children were supervised throughout the entire process and were rebooked and routed to the proper destinations on the same day."
“Continental has clear procedures to assist children traveling alone, and we take the responsibility very seriously,” the statement said. “We have also taken immediate action to reinforce to airport representatives that they must closely adhere to established procedures.”
Kamens recieved a full refund from the airline, but not without a fight which he detailed on his personal blog.
Babineaux and her ex-husband Rahman Williams have hired an attorney to help them get a refund and to present their concerns to federal authorities, the Chronicle reported.
"It’s not so much the money; it’s the neglect that they showed my child," Babineaux said.