Parents fly to France and forget 3-year-old in airport

Thanks to Jameel for sending me this story.

Update: Super Raizy provides the link to the story in English at Haaretz.

Parents flying on a summer vacation from Tel Aviv to France today left one of their children in the airport. Authorities found the child wandering, half an hour after the plane took off.

The parents arrived late at the airport and checked in quickly. Ynet (Hebrew) reports that the parents will be investigated when they return.

Having just flown alone with three children, I can’t understand how this happened. I had four American passports, four Israeli passports, four tickets, and four boarding passes. Four seats. I must have counted those things twenty times. How could they go through passport control and not notice her passport wasn’t examined? Surely she wasn’t holding it herself. Didn’t they notice an extra boarding pass when they got to the gate? “I thought she was with her father and he thought she was with me” doesn’t work here.

And I guess the airline, “Sun-Dor,” isn’t so careful about making sure that all of the passengers got onto the plane, for security reasons.

The authorities said this has never happened before. Completely mind-boggling.


  1. mother in israel says

    LOL Jameel. I updated the post.

  2. ProfK: Perhaps each parent thought the kid was with the other one? And they didn’t sit together on the plane?
    Oh, I know…maybe each parent thought they had done this to the kid…

  3. What so hard to imagine?
    Just as the parents forgot their kid, you forgot to give me credit for this post

  4. …but they didn’t forget their bags, did they?
    When I went to NY recently, there was a very large family on one of the flights sitting in a few spots, (guess they got their tickets too late to have all the seats together) and the staff kept counting out the kids and parents and boarding passes to make sure everything matched up. EL AL, in case you were wondering.

  5. Okay, there is a ra’ash at boarding, but once on the plane? These parents didn’t check that all their kids were buckled in? The three year old had a seat totally away from the rest of the family? It took the airport authorities to notice the missing child, not the family on the plane? Frankly, just more proof that it takes more than being biologically capable of having a child to be a parent.

  6. That poor little girl! I can only imagine how frightened she must have been. I wonder what the parents’ explanation will be…

  7. It is the sort of thing which is funny in a film but appaling in real life.

  8. mother in israel says

    Frumhouse, she will probably need therapy for the rest of her life, assuming the family is not dysfunctional to begin with.
    I wonder if the family will turn out to have several very small children. There were five children. The youngest child, if there was one, would have been in a stroller, and someone should have been keeping a special eye on the 3yo, the youngest one who could wander. But if there was a baby and a two-year-old, I could more easily see losing track of the three-year-old.

  9. I saw about it on the news. They interviewed this policeman. He said he felt something tugging on his trouser leg amd when he looked down he saw a little girl.
    She was a very good girl to go and look for a policeman.
    Then they got a policewoman to look after her, who made sure the food she gave her to eat was glatt.

  10. Unbelievable. I just flew alone with two children and drove them both half insane counting them, bags, tickets…

  11. A Living Nadneyda says

    Imshim: Good reminder. Teach your kids to recognize people wearing uniforms and badges when they need to ask them for help. Not a guaranteed safety measure, but better than most.
    (And if we’re on the subject, although it wouldn’t have helped in this case, put a piece of masking tape with your cellphone number on the inside bottom hem of your young kids’ shirt, and teach them to show the number to the uniformed officer).
    Also, I always teach my kids to stay put (or find the nearest shady area) if we get separated, since I’m going to backtrack to look for them. Wouldn’t have helped here, either. Poor girl. I hope she’ll be ok.

  12. I have no understanding how it could possibly have happened. it makes no sense at all.

  13. mother in israel says

    Here is the Haaretz article with a few more details.

  14. I don’t know who parents turn off that counting reflex. I’ve lost kids before. But, can’t imagine not knowing for even 5 minutes. (I’m having flashbacks to the time my first baby disappeared in a clothing store and the workers guarded the front door while I went yelling for him.
    I am surprised the authorities sent the girl back to her family so quickly. Perhaps I am just reacting to a recent book written by a juvenille court judge.

  15. mother in israel says

    From the Haaretz article I just linked, the story is a little clearer. Let’s say she was with them until they went to the gate. So she went through passport control and baggage security. You don’t have to show your passport again when you get on the plane, just the boarding pass. That is where the airline messed up, because they wanted to get everyone on the plane so they didn’t check this large family carefully. It doesn’t explain why they didn’t miss her, but it seems the plane had taken off moments before the girl was found.

  16. Yisrael Medad says

    Mother: “It doesn’t explain why they didn’t miss her,” – too many negatives ;->) They actually did miss her but maybe, they didn’t really miss her and that’s why she got left behind?

  17. I know the details of the case as they have been publicized.
    What I do not understand is how anyone can get on the plane missing a person. The passengers check their tickets and passports, the boarding agents check each ticket and passport a few times to make sure every person is accounted for, etc.
    When the parents boarded and handed the ticket agent the pile of tickets and passports, did the agent not check each ticket? did the parents not check?
    On the plane, did the parents not notice the empty seat?
    It does not make sense.

  18. sound like a premise for another Home Alone movie. In truth I haven’t seen any of those movies, though I know that a kid accidentally is left behind by parents so harried they forget to notice one is missing in the group.

  19. mama o' matrices says

    Ay. It sounds improbable to me, but I’m one of those mothers continually counting heads. When we flew to Australia, I even found myself counting the heads of the adults flying with me – although that might have been more to assure myself that no, I wasn’t doing this alone, than to make sure I hadn’t lost them.
    Still can’t figure out how the airline was lax enough to close the doors with a missing passenger. Not going to speculate about the parents.

  20. proof that it takes more than being biologically capable of having a child to be a parent.
    Sadly, I’ve been repeating this line a lot lately.

  21. Yisrael Medad says
  22. Another Meshugganah Mommy says

    Awful. I only have two kids, but I cannot imagine leaaving one behind even if I had 5 kids!
    As for the airline…my darling husband once boarded the wrong plane and landed in the wrong city. He was on his way to Columbus, Ohio and was quite confused when he saw a river and the St. Louis arch out the plane window!!! How they let him on that plane, I’ll never know!

  23. It’s not the airline’s job to make sure you have all your kids.
    It’s the parents’ job.
    They should have noticed (At the VERY latest) when they “seat belt checked” all their kids. I know that airline staff do this too, but as a parent, you’re supposed to very that your own kids have their seatbelts.