TAMPA, Florida — A teenager destined for Tampa finds himself alone in an unfamiliar place while he flies alone for the first time.
"I'm very frustrated," Caleb Stewart said during a video call on Wednesday afternoon.
His aunt and sister left him for New York on Tuesday knowing he'd be leaving on a flight to Tampa soon after, but that never happened. The 17-year-old would've never predicted he would be staying in St. Thomas for more than just a few hours.
"It got delayed like three times, and then the last one got canceled. Then I went today again and I waited like for like about six hours and it canceled again," Stewart said.
JetBlue says weather caused several delays, pushing the flight back so late that they were unable to staff the flight. The crew had been on the clock for too many hours and couldn't legally fly so it got cancelled.
"I'm just waiting in the airport and waiting in the hotel," Stewart said.
On his first flight alone, the Virgin Islands native would find himself stuck in a place he wasn't familiar with. JetBlue's voucher got him into a nearby hotel, but he says he had to pay his own taxi to get there and find food.
"I don't want to spend another day here," Stewart said.
Now his family is trying to get him to Tampa safely and make sure he's taken care of while he's left waiting to be rebooked. They say JetBlue staff at the airport in St. Thomas weren't helpful when Caleb first asked for help until an adult got involved and staff agreed to give him a voucher for the hotel.
"They have not taken that added responsibility with him," Pastor Leonard Miles, his uncle, said.
Despite being in New York, he's trying the best he can to figure things out. After calling JetBlue and getting no responses, he reached out to 10 Tampa Bay.
"They should at least look at a minor and say, 'You know what, I'm going to do this for the minor because it's not the minor's fault that he's not leaving, or she's not leaving," Miles said.
Angelina Salcedo investigated and discovered Stewart's age puts him in a tough spot. JetBlue's policy says those 5 to under 14 are considered unaccompanied minors and a fee of 150 dollars is required to ensure the minor can be looked after. Anyone older than 14 is considered an adult, leaving Stewart in a gray area.
"Unfortunately, the manager stated that because he is a minor, there was nothing else that she can do," Miles said.
Still at the hotel Wednesday night, Stewart says he's in limbo, but hopes he'll get out in the next few days.
"This is the ticket that will be for Friday and then they did just give me this like five minutes ago. This ticket will be tomorrow," Stewart said.
His tickets show him booked on two separate flights, JetBlue says he should take off Thursday morning.
"We hope and pray, of course, that he's able to leave, but that does not take away from the interactions that JetBlue decided to take upon themselves and not be proactive in ensuring that a minor was taken care of properly," Miles said.
JetBlue says they will look into the actions taken and make sure Stewart got all the help he was supposed to get in this situation. We're told the airline will be giving a credit for the cancellation and inconvenience and any reasonable expenses for food and anything else he needed while he waits to take off should be reimbursed.