"It's hard when you hear your son or daughter says 'I'm by myself in San Francisco,'" said Douglas Davila. "My heart was in my throat. I was shaking."
The Davilas' daughter was flying to Spokane, Washington, with a layover in San Francisco. She told her family that she was never escorted by an Alaska Airlines representative despite the family paying the unaccompanied-minor fee.
A PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE: A flight from RDU took a chaotic turn for a 13 year old who landed in California alone. Douglas and Maria Davila say they paid @AlaskaAir an unaccompanied minor fee, but those services weren’t provided. Story tonight at 11 on #abc11. pic.twitter.com/Bpf3K1HsUw— Akilah Davis (@DavisABC11) August 23, 2019
Alaska Airlines sent ABC11 the following statement:
"Caring for a child flying alone, without a guardian, is our top priority. We view them as the most precious cargo. Our investigation, which includes specific records that tracked the movement of our young guest, indicates employees did meet her when her flight arrived and escorted her to our Service Center at San Francisco International Airport.
"Our guest was asked to wait with employees at the Service Center, as her connecting flight to Seattle was delayed for 1.3 hours due to a mechanical issue. While we had tabs on our young guest the entire time, we understand that she may have felt unsupervised in the crowded area and for that we are deeply sorry. We also think we could have done a better job communicating with her. Given her experience, we are carefully evaluating our chain of custody procedures for unaccompanied minors making connections through SFO and will strengthen processes to make sure our young guests feel safe and attended to at all times while they are in our care."
The airline said it is refunding the $75 unaccompanied-minor fee. The family wants a full refund but it's unclear whether they will receive that.