Stories of overbooked flights aren't anything new. But this time, budget airline, EasyJet booted an unaccompanied minor from a full flight, leaving the 15-year-old stranded alone at the departure gate at London Gatwick on Thursday, the Guardian reported. As a result, EasyJet has launched an investigation into the situation.
Casper Read, a schoolboy from West Sussex, was taking his second flight alone to stay with relatives in France. His mother accompanied him at the check-in to help him with his bags before he parted through the security gate. Read was given a boarding pass for seat 9A, and just as he was about to text his mother he was aboard safety, another passenger claimed his seat. Read was told he must leave the overbooked plane.
His mother Stephanie Portal returned to the airport and found staff to help assist with finding her son in departures.
Portal said: “It’s crazy. They left him alone in departures. Luckily, I had still not got on board my train to London and could come back and find him. If I had not been there I don’t know what would have happened – he’d have had no money for the train back or anything.”
Her son eventually departed, but that meant that he didn't arrive at his destination until well after midnight.
An EasyJet spokeswoman apologized for the "inconvenience."
EasyJet is sorry that Casper Read’s flight from London Gatwick to Toulouse was overbooked," she said. "We are investigating why he was able to board the aircraft as he should have been informed at the gate. EasyJet has a procedure to protect unaccompanied minors but unfortunately this was not followed on this occasion and so this will also be investigated.”
The situation even reached the highest levels of management. EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said, "It's just not our way," while denying that the airline had overbooking issues.
“We don’t see an overbooking issue. We don’t tend to overbook in peak periods," she continued.