Kids flying alone get stuck in Atlanta overnight


Two unaccompanied children on a Frontier Airlines flight ended up stuck overnight in a hotel after severe weather diverted their Orlando-bound plane to Atlanta, according to reports.

After visiting their grandparents in Des Moines, Iowa, Carter Gray, 9, and Etta Gray, 7, boarded a flight July 22 that wound up circling Orlando for 45 minutes before diverting, Alan Armstrong, the family’s lawyer, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This was the first year I said, ‘OK, they’re old enough to fly on their own, they know their phone number, they know their address,’” their mom, Jennifer Ignash, told the paper.

But when the flight got diverted, “it was like, OK, panic,” said Ignash, who waited at the Orlando airport, where she was unable to get information from the airline about her kids.

Ignash said she didn’t get a call from a Frontier representative until the following morning.

Finally, Carter reached his dad, Chad Gray, by texting on an older unaccompanied minor’s cellphone, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“It was really a disaster,” said Gray, 42, who lives in Lake Nona.

Carter, Etta and four other children spent about four hours at the Atlanta airport before being taken to a hotel by a Frontier employee about 5 a.m., Gray said.

They were only given Rice Krispies Treats and water, he said.

“At least give them some Chick-fil-A — that’s in Atlanta, right?” Gray said, adding that his daughter was not placed in a car booster seat and that both kids were not properly supervised at the hotel.

The stranded kids eventually were given a voucher to buy breakfast at McDonald’s before boarding another flight to Orlando, he said.

“They should have been overly protective of these children,” he told the Sentinel. “They could have made sure the kids were comfortable and really reached out to make contact with the parents.”

The father called for “set policies and procedures” to be put in place.

“I think they probably escaped this incident with very little damage, but that may not be the case if it happens again,” he said.

Frontier rep Jonathan Freed insisted that the kids were in contact with their parents, were always accompanied by a supervisor and were provided food.

“We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible,” Freed said in a statement.

But Gray wasn’t buying it.

“We won’t be flying Frontier again,” he said.

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