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Severe weather rolling across Texas turned into travel headaches at ABIA

Some of the people in the long lines at ABIA Thursday morning were accidental visitors to Austin, the passengers on the 24 diverted flights on different airlines (CBS Austin)

Severe weather rolling across Texas turned into some travel headaches at ABIA. Pilots were forced to divert to Austin, leaving hundreds of passengers on their way to somewhere else to wait it out. That includes a sixteen-year-old kid -- whose mother reached out to CBS Austin, frantic that he was so far from home in an emergency.

Some of the people in the long lines at ABIA Thursday morning were accidental visitors to Austin, the passengers on the 24 diverted flights on different airlines.

Sixteen-year-old Gabriel Jacobs was one of them. “I was supposed to land in Dallas. I landed in not Dallas,” he said. He was on his way home to Oregon -- when his connecting flight to Dallas was diverted. “They kept on telling us that we’d be going back to Dallas, and then when we came back, they say, just go out the exit and you can order a hotel,” he said.

But being sixteen -- Jacobs doesn’t have a credit card. He’s too young to check into a lot of hotels. He was stuck at the airport, where he slept on a bench in the main terminal.

Early Thursday morning -- his frantic mother reached out to CBS Austin, writing:

“I’m a worried mom my son is 16 he was suppose [sic] to be home in pdx at 9pm last night He left vps at 3 pm and it’s now 3 am and he is not home The plane had to make a detour to Austin instead of landing in Dallas they kept them On the plan for hours even let them out of the plane then back on the plane then tried to fly into Dallas again and couldn’t make it so went back to Austin No food :( the airport is small and they told everyone to get there bags my son left security and now he’s in the America’s [sic] airline ticket line again of hundreds of people and no answers as to what to do I have called 2 times 930pm and at 2:30 am American Airlines just called me back she said she had no idea why they gave him his bag and they shldnt [sic] have and I said he’s 16 and alone when is his flight she said 1pm I said ok at what gate she said I have no idea I said well he needs a ticket for security she said ohh he can use his old one from the vps airport I said ummm that doesn’t make sense what about his bag she said I don’t know I said will they give him food and a place to sleep for few hours she said no we don’t do that I’m so concerned”

So, CBS Austin reached out to American Airlines, which re-booked him on a flight home. But a spokesman said even though Jacobs was technically an unaccompanied minor -- he was treated as an adult. “For children ages 15-17: Children in this age range don’t have to use the unaccompanied minor service, but it’s still available to them. In the case of Mr. Jacobs, who is 16, he and/or his family did not purchase this service."

When we found Jacobs at the airport, he was just glad the ordeal was almost over. “It was pretty frustrating,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to do. I knew I would be fine because nothing bad if I stayed here it could happen at an airport.”


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