NEWARK, N.J. – Two North Carolina parents were left in a panic after their 14-year-old son was put on a plane to the wrong country.
Brenda and Christer Berg's 14-year-old son was flying to visit his grandparents in Sweden, but because of his age and the fact that he was flying alone, United Airlines required him to fly in the unaccompanied minor program.
"I just thought all night, 'What if he'd been 12? What if he'd been 10? What if he didn't have his cellphone on him?' This can't happen to anybody else," Brenda Berg said.
After reaching Newark, New Jersey, the United agent put him on the wrong flight -- this one heading to Germany.
"He texted me because he still was on the plane. 'There are a lot of people speaking German on this flight. That's kind of odd, isn't it?' I said, 'That it is, kind of odd,'" Christer Berg said.
"It was absolute desperation. We have no way to reach the airline. We were sitting there with a child on the runway about to fly to Germany, the wrong country. And we had no way to reach them," Brenda Berg said.
The teen was able to figure out the mistake while the plane was still taxiing on the runway.
He was able to get a flight attendant's attention and he was able to get off the wrong plane.
The family hopes their story will push airlines to improve their minor programs.
"They track bags, but they should also, of course, track the kids and have safe and sound handover procedures when they go from one flight to the other. We want these processes to be tightened up for the benefits of all kids and all families," Christer Berg said.
The airline apologized to the family.