BOSTON (CBS) – JetBlue is looking into a frightening mixup that put two children on the wrong planes and one ended up in Boston.
The incident happened on August 17, but became public in a New York Daily News story Thursday.
Maribel Martinez told the paper she went to Kennedy Airport to pick up her 5-year-old son Andy, who was returning home alone from the Dominican Republic after visiting family there.
JetBlue employees brought a 5-year-old boy to Martinez, but it wasn’t her son. In fact, she said the unknown boy had her son Andy’s passport.
“When I went to pick up my son, my son wasn’t there. I was given another boy, Martinez said through a translator at a Thursday press conference. “I was desperate, going crazy. I still am.”
Martinez said it took more than three hours to locate her son and figure out what had happened.
JetBlue issued this statement to WBZ-TV Thursday:
On August 17, two unaccompanied children of the same age traveling separately from Santiago, Dominican Republic – one to New York JFK and one to Boston – each boarded a flight to the incorrect destination. Upon learning of the error, our teams in JFK and Boston immediately took steps to assist the children in reaching their correct destinations. While the children were always under the care and supervision of JetBlue crewmembers, we realize this situation was distressing for the families. 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.
Martinez told the paper she has never received an apology or explanation for what happened. She’s planning to take legal action against the airline.
“For three hours she believes her son may be kidnapped. She doesn’t know where he is. JetBlue hasn’t been communicating with her,” Sanford Rubenstein, her attorney said.
She didn’t know the name of the boy JetBlue initially brought to her at Kennedy Airport, but he was safely returned to Boston.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare that their 5-year-old child is missing. This never should’ve happened,” Rubenstein said.
JetBlue said it has offered $2,000 in vouchers to the families involved.