Mother sues airline after staff fly 5-year-old boy to wrong city and present her with a different 'son'

JetBlue Airways face legal action after two children mixed up and sent hundreds of miles in wrong direction

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 03 October 2016 18:44 BST
New York mother horrified after airline delivers the wrong child

Travellers are used to lost luggage, booking errors and on-board delays - but now an American airline is being sued for mixing up two children and sending them to the wrong cities.

One of the boys’ mothers has filed a lawsuit against JetBlue Airways for the mistake, saying she suffered “great emotional distress, extreme fear, horror, mental shock, mental anguish and psychological trauma”.

Maribel Martinez said she was shocked when her five-year-old son, Andy Martinez, failed to turn up at John F Kennedy international airport in New York as she waited to meet him on 17 August. Her son had instead been put on a flight to Logan airport in Boston, Massachusetts – 215 miles away.

To make matters worse, JetBlue staff escorted Andy to a woman he had never seen before, having told him he was being reunited with his mother.

Meanwhile, another boy who was supposed to be flying to Boston had been put on the flight to New York that Andy was meant to be on. He was presented to Ms Martinez at the airport as her son, leading her to inform airline staff that she had never seen the boy before.

The boy had even been given Andy’s passport to travel with.

Both Andy and the other, unnamed boy were flying from Cibao international airport in the Dominican Republic.

JetBlue Airways sent Andy Martinez (centre) to the wrong airport and presented his mother, Maribel (right) with a different boy.
JetBlue Airways sent Andy Martinez (centre) to the wrong airport and presented his mother, Maribel (right) with a different boy. (AP)

It took three hours for JetBlue to sort out what had happened and allow Andy and his mother to speak to each other on the phone. Ms Martinez said at the time she thought he had been kidnapped and that she would never see him again.

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from JetBlue. Her lawyer, prominent New York attorney Sanford Rubenstein, said Ms Martinez hoped to shine a light on JetBlue’s practices and prevent a similar mistake happening again. “This never should have happened and the JetBlue employees should be ashamed of themselves,” Mr Rubenstein told the New York Daily News.

A JetBlue Airways spokesman said the company did not comment on pending litigation.

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