Gold Coast family demands change after airline leaves 9yo in storeroom overnight

A Gold Coast family is calling for Virgin Australia to change its policies after the airline put their nine-year-old son in a storage room at Melbourne Airport when they allegedly couldn’t find overnight accommodation for him.

John, 9, left Brisbane to go and visit his grandparents in Sydney under an ‘unaccompanied minor service’ last Thursday night.

Unable to land due to rough weather, the plane was instead diverted to Melbourne.


John’s grandmother, who was expecting to pick him up in Sydney, was notified that John would be put up in a hotel for the night and they would call in the morning.

The grandmother demanded to know where her grandson was, though the airline didn’t reply.  It wasn’t until 2.30am when she received a text message saying her grandson had new flights booked for the morning.

They still did not tell her where he was, even after she texted back asking “where is John?”

The next day they found out that John had spent the night in a storage room at Melbourne Airport because hotels were fully booked due to the Grand Prix.

During the night, not one phone call or text message was sent to the parents in Brisbane, who were frantically calling around trying to find out where he was.

An ‘unaccompanied minor service’ is where parents or guardians pay extra to ensure their child is supervised from beginning to end of a flight.

There are only two contact numbers on the form, the person receiving the child and the parent of the child.

Katie Meredith, the boy’s mother, told 1029 Hot Tomato this morning that policies around this service need to change.

“Not once did they think, maybe I should call the parent, make sure there’s nothing wrong with John, or that he has any other needs.

“He did just have heart surgery last month, so I definitely didn’t want him sleeping on the floor of an airport.”

“I am not at all saying that he was not treated well, basically I’m just upset that we didn’t know where he was for so long,” Ms Meredith said.

Virgin Australia has reportedly apologised for the incident and has launched an internal investigation.

Kate, the mother of the 9 year old minor who was left in a storage room after a Virgin flight was diverted, spoke to Flan, Emily Jade & Christo this morning on Hot Tomato about her ordeal.