A controversy involving a teenager from Hong Kong, a Chicago travel program and Delta Airlines is grabbing headlines.
The teen's family and his Chicago sponsor says he missed the experience of a lifetime because he was forced from a plane in Atlanta. The boy’s flight from Atlanta to Bonaire was overbooked and he got off the plane--only to learn that the next direct flight was a week away.
Jim Stein says the 14-year old boy was supposed to go on a trip with his Chicago organization, The Road Less Traveled, that provides community service and adventure opportunities to teens around the world.
"We were incredibly upset because he would miss our whole program which he signed up for," Stein said.
The boy and his mother flew from Hong Kong to Atlanta where the boy was supposed to continue on alone to Bonaire.
"Ian boarded the trip, boarded the plane, sat in 28A, and was asked to depart the plane by a representative of delta's and leave the airplane," Stein said.
The boy’s mom wrote on Instagram about the ordeal.
“He thought he was assigned to another seat but staff of Delta airline brought him out of the plane and handed my son to me,” she wrote.
"He was crushed. Our understanding is he was really just crushed and mother was incredibly upset," said Stein.
The boy was supposed to spend the two week trip getting scuba certified and doing coral restoration in one of the world’s premier diving locations. An adventure he paid thousands of dollars for—and won’t get to experience.
A Delta spokesperson said in a statement:
"The family accepted a $1,000 gift card to voluntarily give up a seat on the flight and we will work directly with them to resolve any outstanding issues."
The boy’s mom declined to be interviewed because she is considering legal action against Delta.
The Road Less Traveled is offering the boy a free trip next summer.