A family is furious after their 11-year-old son was kicked off a Jetstar flight for traveling without an adult.
Jack Garland, 11, and his sister Scarlett, 13, boarded a flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast in October. Their father was supposed to fly with them, but had to pull out due to a last-minute work commitment.
During an appearance on the Channel 9 show ‘Today’, their mother, Emma Garland, claimed that she contacted the airline prior to her children’s travels to make sure they could still fly without their father. They would have said yes since Scarlett was 13.
But Emma claimed Jack was taken out of his seat with no explanation to Scarlett – who stayed on the plane and arrived in the Gold Coast without her brother or even any idea where he was.
“It was one of the most horrible days of our lives as a family,” the mother told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon, who described the incident as “a parent’s worst nightmare.
“Just the fact that Scarlett and Jack flew alone for the first time was stressful enough to then get the call from Jack that he had been taken off the flight and he didn’t really understand why – he was just beside himself.”
Emma commented that her son was “inconsolable” when she spoke to him on the phone.
The budget airline has since apologized in a statement to News.com.AU, as a spokesperson admitted that staff on board the flight “should have handled the situation better”.
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Ms Garland and her family for the extremely distressing situation,” the airline said.
“While we are pleased to welcome young passengers on board our flights, Jetstar does not accommodate unaccompanied minors and young passengers must meet certain requirements to travel independently with us, including being of secondary school age,” explained the spokesperson .
“A high school passenger can travel independently, but must be at least 15 years old to accompany a child under high school age.”
“We also apologize to Ms Garland for the delay she has experienced in obtaining a refund and we can confirm that refunds are being processed for her family’s entire booking,” the airline added.
But Emma said she would rather have “the assurance that one day this won’t happen to another family” than any kind of apology.