The child was supposed to fly to Columbus in Georgia, but was sent to Columbus, Ohio instead.
The agent making the booking assured the child's father that it had the right destination.
The child could not initially be located and his journey home took an additional 12 hours.
American Airlines sent a 12-year-old unaccompanied passenger to the wrong state after it booked him on an incorrect flight.
He was supposed to fly from Dallas, where he was visiting his mom, back home to Columbus in Georgia on June 7, but was sent to Columbus in Ohio instead.
Daniel Patton, the boy's father, told Insider that he repeatedly told the agent on the phone that it was Columbus, Georgia and not Columbus, Ohio when making the booking.
"What is frustrating is that I looked up the correct flights already but it doesn't allow parents to purchase tickets themselves or I would have booked the flight [online]," he said.
Patton said the agent assured him that the journey was booked correctly. The ticket cost $250 with an additional $150 unaccompanied minor fee. "They charge you money but don't take care of kids," he said.
Insider has viewed the ticket and booking confirmation, which only stated the airport's code rather than the state. The code for Columbus, Ohio is CMH and CSG for the airport in Columbus, Georgia.
Patton only realized the error when he got to the airport in Georgia and his son wasn't there. He called the airline before the flight landed and staff at Ohio found him about 15 minutes after the flight landed.
"At first we didn't know where he was. It was an absolute nightmare," he said.
"I found out he was in Ohio and called the airline to ask why he was sent there. They told me that's the ticket I bought and I said 'no you told me it was for Columbus, Georgia'," he added.
The child had to fly from Ohio back to Dallas and wait for another five hours before catching a flight to Columbus, Georgia. That meant his journey took 12 hours more than it should have.
"Mistakes happen but when they drop the ball it's a big deal especially when you already take the agency and liability away from parents when making the booking," Patton said. "We're not going to use American Airlines again or trust them because they're incompetent."
The airline issued an apology on email, which has been seen by Insider, and refunded the cost of the journey.
American Airlines did not respond to Insider's request for comment.
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