ST. PETERSBURG -- A disturbing chain of events Wednesday involving a 15-year-old girl flying alone on a nonstop flight to Bangor, Maine, from the Saint Pete/Clearwater International Airport left the teen unaccompanied in baggage claim at the airport.
The teen's mother, Michelle Easler, put her daughter on the delayed flight around 3 p.m. Wednesday, expecting her to arrive in Maine three hours later.
The Allegiant flight had trouble with its engines about 30 minutes into the flight and was forced to return to the airport in St. Petersburg.
After it landed and the passengers were being placed on another plane in St. Pete, officials would not allow any unaccompanied minors back on the new plane because of inclement weather.
According to Allegiant's policy involving transporting minors: "Allegiant will not permit anyone under the age of 18 traveling without an adult on the flight with a weather advisory."
So, 15-year-old Vanessa Easler and four other minors were left in baggage claim at the Saint Pete Clearwater Airport.
"They kicked her out and put her in baggage claim and no one stayed with her," says Easler,. "So that was a real problem for me because she's still a minor and I'm not really willing to let someone just pick up my kid at the airport and take her with them."
"They (Allegiant officials) didn't even know that my mom was even coming back to pick me up," Vanessa said. "They didn't even ask me if I called my mom. They just expected me to."
Allegiant Air could not be reached for comment on the incident.