On August 17, Maribel Martinez traveled to JFK Airport to pick up her son, Andy, after he spent time with relatives in the Dominican Republic. However, when Jet Blue staffers approached Martinez, they presented her with a child that was not hers.
“No, this is not my child,” she frantically told JetBlue employees.
It then took over three hours for Martinez to learn that Andy had been placed on a flight to Boston instead. Martinez admitted that during the time she was looking for him, she thought he was kidnapped and that she would never see Andy again.
The unidentified boy who was presented to Martinez was supposed to be the one on the flight to Boston. Eventually Martinez got a hold of her son in Boston.
“‘Mami, they put me on another plane,’” she recalled Andy telling her.
Martinez could not understand how such a mistake could have occurred when she paid an additional $100 fee for her son to be escorted by a staff member during his entire trip. Andy’s relatives took a video of the boy at the Santiago Airport with other unaccompanied minors.
Now, Martinez is prepared to take to legal action against the airline for their negligence and the emotional duress they placed on her family.
“Any parent can understand the terrifying fear a mother goes through knowing that her child is missing,” Martinez’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said. “This never should have happened and the JetBlue employees should be ashamed of themselves.”
A JetBlue spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday: “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 crew members, we realize this situation was distressing for their families.”
JetBlue refunded her $475 for the flight and also gave the family $2,100 in credit for future flights, but Martinez says the family will never fly JetBlue again.
(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)