A Teen Flying by Himself Was Booted Off an Overbooked Flight and Left Behind

July 21, 2017, 1:08 PM UTC

An unaccompanied minor was taken off an overbooked EasyJet flight out of London Gatwick Thursday and left alone at the gate.

15-year-old Casper Read was removed from his seat Thursday morning on a flight to Toulouse to visit his grandparents, the Guardian reports, after he had already been given a boarding pass and boarded the plane. “EasyJet is sorry that Casper Read’s flight from London Gatwick to Toulouse was overbooked,” the spokeswoman said. “We are investigating why he was able to board the aircraft as he should have been informed at the gate.”

“EasyJet has a procedure to protect unaccompanied minors but unfortunately this was not followed on this occasion and so this will also be investigated,” a spokeswoman for the airline told the Guardian. According to EasyJet’s web site, it considers passengers as minors only up to the age of 14.

His mother, Stephanie Portal, who had helped him check in at the airport, turned around to come get him and wrangle him a new flight. “It’s crazy,” she said. “They left him alone in departures. Luckily, I had still not got on board my train to London and could come back and find him. If I had not been there I don’t know what would have happened – he’d have had no money for the train back or anything.”

It’s been a turbulent week for EasyJet. First it lost its chief executive Carolyn McCall to broadcaster ITV. And on Thursday it triggered a Europe-wide slump in airline stocks by saying it expected revenues-per-passenger to fall in the second half of this year, partly as a consequence of overcapacity in the sector.

In an e-mailed statement, EasyJet extended an apology and said it would offer compensation.