Virgin Atlantic has apologised after an unaccompanied 11-year-old boy was removed from a London-bound flight at Shanghai airport.
The family said the boy was left traumatised after the incident. He had already checked in and sat in his seat when he was removed from the flight on 9 July.
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The boy had been booked on an 'unaccompanied minors' seat and was heading over to summer camp in Britain with a friend.
But the 'category' he was sitting in was overbooked so he was removed from the flight. His parents said their son was left "scared" and "cried for hours" after the incident.
Speaking to the Beijing Youth Daily,the boy's mother, Mrs Liu, said: "Since the two kids were travelling without any adults, we checked repeatedly with Virgin Atlantic to make sure that the crew members can take care of them on flight VS251 from Shanghai to London on July 9."
Virgin UK said there were too many unaccompanied minors booked onto the flight and as a result the airline had to remove the last booked customer from the flight.
According to the Telegraph, a spokesperson said: "This decision was made with the customer's wellbeing in mind, and our airport team looked after the child until their parents returned to the airport."
Mrs Liu said that when she arrived she was told that her son was the ninth checked-in unaccompanied minor, and they can only accept up to eight.
The airline apologised for the incident and offered the family free flights to London.
According to the People's Daily Online, the Shanghai office of Virgin Atlantic made an apology to the boy and his family on Weibo, which said: "Based on relevant regulations, a maximum of eight unaccompanied minors can be taken care of on one flight.
"We should have informed the child and his family before boarding. Corresponding compensation shall be made, and the check-in process of flight VS251 will be looked at."