FORT MYERS, Fla. — Days before Christmas, a 6-year-old boy's mother dropped him off at a Philadelphia airport and handed him off to a flight attendant to travel to southwest Florida.
He was traveling alone, but the family was under the impression an escort would guide him until he landed at Southwest Florida International Airport safely.
Instead he landed in Orlando.
The child's grandmother, Maria Ramos, tells Fox 4's Briana Brownlee she wants answers as to how this could happen.
"I said listen, my grandson was handed over to you at the Philadelphia airport, where is he? She said 'no I don't have no kids with me'," Ramos said.
At that moment, Ramos' heart sank — not knowing where her 6-year-old grandson Casper was after boarding a flight to come see her for Christmas.
The worst fears, the worst thoughts filled her mind for 40 minutes, she says, until Casper Facetimed her.
"He goes 'mama, I'm in the airport'. I said give me an adult Casper that is with you. He said 'no grandma I don't have anyone with me'," Ramos explained.
An adult in the airport let Ramos know Casper was in Orlando, not RSW, resulting in Ramos to make a late drive from Fort Myers to Orlando, she said.
"If you read this, it says final destination RSW and he had this around his neck," Ramos said as she showed the lanyard with Casper's flight information.
Ramos was relieved to hear her grandson's voice, but still questioned why was he alone and what happened during the time of his mother handing him off to a flight attendant to him boarding his flight.
"I asked him once they put you in the seat, did you get off the plane," Ramos said. "He said 'no Grandma, I got on the plane and I went to sleep'," Ramos said.
Fox 4's Briana Brownleeasked Spirit Airlines how Casper ended up in Orlando, how was his ticket for RSW scanned for an Orlando flight and where was the escort the family said was promised?
The airline responded with this statement:
On Dec. 21, an unaccompanied child traveling from Philadelphia (PHL) to Fort Myers (RSW) was incorrectly boarded on a flight to Orlando (MCO). The child was always under the care and supervision of a Spirit Team Member, and as soon as we discovered the error, we took immediate steps to communicate with the family and reconnect them. We take the safety and responsibility of transporting all of our Guests seriously and are conducting an internal investigation. We apologize to the family for this experience.
"The only way I found out where was Casper was because Casper Facetimed me. Spirit never contacted me until today [Tuesday]," Ramos said in response to the airline's statement.
She added the airline offered to reimburse her for the flight, but she said that's not what she wants. Instead, she wants answers to how this happened.
Ramos added that she is worried about how this will impact her grandson, because ever since the incident she said he's been afraid to be alone.