ATLANTA (WHDH) — The parents of two young children are outraged after a diverted flight left their kids stranded in Atlanta.
Nine-year-old Carter Gray and his 7-year-old sister, Etta, have been on dozens of flights before but their first flight without their parents turned into a nightmare.
On the night of July 22, the two were put on a Frontier flight from Des Moines, Iowa to Orlando, Florida, when severe weather diverted the plane to Atlanta.
Their parents say they had no idea.
“We did not hear from a Frontier airlines employee throughout this whole process,” the children’s father, Chad Gray, told WGCL. “The only way we received any notification was from another unaccompanied minor who had a cellphone and he let my son call me.”
Chad Gray says gate agents with Frontier weren’t picking up the phone.
Around 2 a.m., airline employees allegedly made the decision to take Carter and Etta to a Holiday Inn without notifying their parents.
“They drove to the hotel in a Frontier airlines employee’s personal vehicle,” Chad Gray said.
At 4:30 a.m., Carter sent his dad a text telling him they were at a hotel with several other unaccompanied minors and one female airline employee.
“He had to sleep in a bed with another boy that was five years older than him,” Chad Gray claimed.
The airline says the family never contacted them about the concerns, adding that it is standard procedure to put stranded passengers in a hotel room.
“The safety of our passengers is top priority at Frontier Airlines and the well-being of unaccompanied minors is no exception,” the company said in a statement. “Our records show that the children were in contact with their mother before being transported to the hotel and with their father the following morning before leaving on the continued flight. We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”
An attorney representing the family is questioning the airline’s decision to fly out of Des Moines.
He added that flights were grounded in Orlando.
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