US mother sues airline after staff fly boy, 5, to wrong city and present her with a different 'son'

American airline JetBlue Airways is now facing legal action after two children were mixed up and sent hundreds of miles in the wrong direction to the wrong cities, reported The Independent.
American airline JetBlue Airways is now facing legal action after two children were mixed up and sent hundreds of miles in the wrong direction to the wrong cities, reported The Independent.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK - Travelling mishaps happen, and travellers are used to lost baggage, booking mix-ups and delays. However, American airline JetBlue Airways is now facing legal action after two children were mixed up and sent hundreds of miles in the wrong direction to the wrong cities, reported The Independent.

One of the boys' mother, Ms Maribel Martinez, filed a lawsuit against the airline for the mishap, claiming that she suffered "great emotional distress, extreme fear, horror, mental shock, mental anguish and psychological trauma".

She said she was shocked when her five-year-old son Andy was nowhere to be seen at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York as she waited anxiously to meet him on Aug 17.

According to The Independent, Andy had in fact been put on a flight to Logan airport in Boston, Massachusetts, which is 346km away.

It got worse when JetBlue staff directed Andy to a woman he did not recognise, and told him he was being reunited with his mother.

On the other hand, another boy who was meant to fly to Boston was placed on the flight Andy was meant to be on. He was presented to Ms Martinez at the airport as her son. She informed airline staff that she had never seen the boy before.

The boy, who was unnamed, was even given Andy's passport to travel with. They were both flying from Cibao International Airport in the Dominican Republic, reported The Independent.

After three hours, JetBlue finally sorted out what had occurred and gave Ms Martinez and her son Andy the chance to speak over the phone. She said at the time that she thought he had been kidnapped and she would never see him again.

Ms Martinez's lawyer, prominent New York attorney Sanford Rubenstein, said Ms Martinez hoped to cast the spotlight on JetBlue's practices and prevent a similar mistake happening in future. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the airline.

Mr Rubenstein told the New York Daily News: "This never should have happened and the JetBlue employees should be ashamed of themselves."

A JetBlue Airways spokesman said the company did not comment on pending litigation, reported The Independent.