Thanks to Spirit Airlines, a family almost found themselves re-living the plot of a beloved Christmas movie.
“Home Alone” remains one of the greatest Christmas movies with part of its appeal being the slapstick outlandishness of the situation: a young Kevin McCallister ends up left behind by his family for Christmas as they jet off to Paris, followed up by equally tremendous “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” that sees Kevin again separated from his family when he boards the wrong flight at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Entertaining? Of course. Realistic? Well, how would a minor manage to get on the wrong flight without his family or a ticket? Seems especially improbable with 30-plus years of advances in flying since the movie was released. Or is it?
Well, this Christmas travel season saw a 6-year-old child traveling as an unaccompanied minor get put onto the wrong Spirit Airlines flight, one for which he didn’t have a ticket. Somehow, no one noticed the extra unticketed passenger on the wrong flight nor the absence of an unaccompanied minor on the correct flight until both landed in different cities.
Instead of meeting his waiting grandmother at the Southwest Florida International Airport near Fort Myers before Christmas, only her grandson’s luggage arrived at the correct airport.
The grandmother, Maria Ramos, explained to local news outlet WINK-TV how she discovered her grandson had been put on the wrong plane at his point of departure in Philadelphia:
“They told me, ‘No, he’s not on this flight. He missed his flight.’ I said, ‘No, he could not miss his flight because I have the check-in tag,’” said Ramos. “I ran inside the plane to the flight attendant and I asked her, ‘Where’s my grandson? He was handed over to you at Philadelphia?’ She said, ‘No, I had no kids with me.’”
As the panicked grandmother tried to figure out where her grandson, Casper, had disappeared to, he called her to say that he’d just landed…in Orlando. At least that’s closer than when Kevin McCallister ended up in New York while the rest of his family flew to Miami. Thankfully, Casper did not have to fend for himself, take on bungling burglars, or befriend a pigeon lady to find the true meaning of Christmas.
Casper’s grandmother told WINK-TV that Spirit Airlines offered to reimburse her for the 3+ hour drive to retrieve her misrouted grandson, but that didn’t mollify her.
for anyone who thought Home Alone wouldn’t be possible in 2023, your crucial mistake was forgetting Spirit Airlines exists https://t.co/w75tF6wIv0— Washington Post TikTok Dad (@davejorgenson) December 25, 2023
“I want them to call me,” she said of Spirit Airlines. “Let me know how my grandson ended up in Orlando. How did that happen? Did they get him off the plane?” she questioned. “The flight attendant – after mom handed him with paperwork – did she let him go by himself? He jumped in the wrong plane by himself?”
For now, the only response from Spirit Airlines has been in the form of a statement addressing the Christmas caper of the missing grandson:
On Dec. 21, an unaccompanied child traveling from Philadelphia (PHL) to Fort Myers (RSW) was incorrectly boarded on a flight to Orlando (MCO). The child was always under the care and supervision of a Spirit Team Member, and as soon as we discovered the error, we took immediate steps to communicate with the family and reconnect them. We take the safety and responsibility of transporting all of our Guests seriously and are conducting an internal investigation. We apologize to the family for this experience.