United Airlines reportedly ignored internal policies and allowed an unaccompanied minor to travel internationally alone. After charging the mother an unforeseen $150, to ensure the child arrived safely, a night of panic ensued as United placed the teenager on the wrong flight to the wrong country.
A United representative told Business Insider that a 14-year-old flying alone typically wouldn't be allowed when there's an international connection involved. However, because the ticket was sold by SAS, which considers children 11 and under to be minors, the check-in agent decided to allow the teenager onto the connecting flight with the airport escort service.
The paperwork that the 14-year-old was given had the correct flight information on it, but there was a gate change between when it was printed and when he arrived at Newark for the connecting flight. A Eurowings plane, Flight EW1113 to Düsseldorf, was sitting at the gate at that point.
The United representative said the Düsseldorf flight was ready to leave, awaiting one more passenger, who had a similar name as the boy. They were preparing to close the doors, calling the passenger's name, when the person escorting the boy heard the announcements, assumed it was supposed to be him, and rushed him onto the incorrect plane.