Mum's fear as she 'loses' son after Virgin flight was diverted

A Brisbane mother says she was beside herself when she couldn’t find out where her little boy was after his Sydney bound flight was diverted to Melbourne.

It turns out nine-year-old John, who was used to flying alone, stayed at Melbourne airport in a storage room but his family wasn’t told.

“I felt kind of scared,” John revealed.

Katie Meredith has called on Virgin to improve their procedures. Source: 7News

His flight on Thursday was put into a holding pattern over Singleton due to storms.

When it was diverted, John began asking questions.

“Who am I going to be staying with? Where am I going to go? And I’m not going to be with a family member,” he questioned at the time.

His grandmother was waiting for him in Sydney. She was told he had been taken to Melbourne and they were looking for a hotel for John.

John’s family wasn’t immediately told that he wouldn’t be arriving in Sydney. Source: 7News

“It was at that point the staff member said that she would call in the morning and my mother said, ‘no please tell me what hotel you’re going to’,” his mother, Katie Meredith, recalled.

It turns out John was staying in a storage room off the Virgin Lounge, where staff made a makeshift bedroom from boxes.

“The scariest thing for me is not how my child was treated, it was ‘where is my child?’,” Ms Meredith said.

John stayed in a makeshift bedroom in a storage cupboard. Source: 7News

The Merediths aren’t seeking any compensation from Virgin but they want the airline to have better procedures in place so this won’t happen again.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said “due to the Grand Prix being held in Melbourne that weekend, there was no available accommodation”.

The spokesperson also said it “regrettably” failed to respond to a message from John’s nominated guardian.

While the Merediths suffered a night of stress and anxiety over John’s wellbeing, the child admitted his time in the lounge was at least an enjoyable experience.

“We got to make a box fort – like a big one,” he recalled.

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