Spirit Airlines fires gate agent who put unaccompanied 6-year-old on wrong flight

The minor boarded a flight to Orlando instead of Fort Myers.

December 28, 2023, 6:57 PM

Spirit Airlines said it has fired the gate agent who put an unaccompanied minor on the wrong Florida flight last week.

The child -- identified by his family as a 6-year-old boy named Casper -- was traveling from Philadelphia to Fort Myers on Dec. 21 but boarded a flight to Orlando instead, the airline said.

An investigation determined a gate agent in Philadelphia escorted Casper to the incorrect aircraft, the airline said Thursday.

"This agent is no longer working with Spirit, and any individual whose actions resulted in the incorrect boarding will be held accountable for failing to follow our procedures," Spirit said in a statement. "We are also reiterating our procedures to the team, and we are in communication with the child’s family about this matter."

A Spirit Airlines plane lands at Oakland International Airport on July 28, 2022 in Oakland, Calif.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, FILE

The incident occurred during a record-breaking travel holiday rush, with AAA calling it the "busiest air travel season ever."

Casper's grandmother, Maria Ramos, was waiting for him at the airport. She told "Good Morning America" earlier this week that his luggage landed in Fort Myers but there was no sign of him.

"They told me 'no, he's not on this flight, he missed his flight,'" Ramos said.

She said she spoke to a flight attendant who told her there were no children on the flight.

A short time later she said Casper called her from Orlando, 150 miles away, and told her he was at the airport.

"I want them to call me and let me know how my grandson ended up in Orlando, how did that happen?" Ramos asked.

"I keep thinking about, how about if somebody would have stolen my grandson," she said.

Spirit said the child was "always under the care and supervision" of an airline employee.

"[As] soon as we discovered the error, we took immediate steps to communicate with the family and reconnect them," the airline said.

Ramos said Spirit reimbursed her for having to travel to Orlando to pick up her grandson.