Family Questions Why Airplane Left Without Teen

By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family is asking an airline what happened after Southwest plane took off without a teenager who didn’t fit in his seat.

Timothy White and his twin brother were supposed to fly from Chicago to Minneapolis on Thursday night.

Their aunt, Angela White Smith, had made the plans months ago for them to fly into Minnesota.

“The plan was that, although they were going to miss their Thanksgiving dinner at home, that we were going to go out for a special dinner Friday night,” Smith said.

Their trip started about 5:30 in Chicago Thursday night.

“We get to the airport a couple hours early,” Will White said.

The next thing, Smith knew she got a call from her nephews.

“I get a call at 7:51. Their flight was supposed to take off at 7:55,” Smith recalled.

An agent told White he was spilling into the next seat and he’d have to buy another ticket to be able to fly.

“I thought that’s amazing. There’s only 60 people on this flight and I have to buy another ticket,” Tim White said.

From Minneapolis, his aunt agreed to pay for it. The agent told Smith she couldn’t do that because they couldn’t take credit card numbers over the phone.

“To tell me to call an 800 number when we’re two minutes away from a flight taking off. It’s not a solution,” Smith said.

Since they couldn’t pay, the plane took off without the twins.

Their aunt ended up buying them bus tickets. They got into Minneapolis at six Friday morning.

Southwest policy says if a plane isn’t full and a customer is too big for one seat they do need to buy a second ticket, but they’ll get a refund for it later.

If the plane is full you’re not going to get your money back. In this case, agents at the gate are not able to take credit cards over the phone.

Southwest said they regret what happened and they will refund the Whites for all of their plane fare.


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