- A mother begged an airport security guard on the phone to take care of her teenage daughter.
- Ainsley Ashton’s daughter was left alone at Dar es Salaam airport overnight after her flight was cancelled.
- She was stuck at the airport for almost 24 hours after being “forgotten” by the transfer desk.
Ainsley Ashton’s 16-year-old daughter was stranded overnight at an airport more than 3,000 miles away while traveling from Africa to London.
The teenager flew unaccompanied from Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to Heathrow via Doha, Qatar, on August 28.
The flights are booked with British Airways on the Doha-Kilimanjaro routes operated by Qatar, Qatar’s codeshare partner. Insider has verified the itinerary against travel documents.
The flight made a stopover in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but the plane malfunctioned and passengers had to disembark.
The teen went to the transfer desk and was told she would be put on the next available flight, but was later told it had left without her. “She had forgotten,” her mother said.
The 16-year-old arrived in Dar es Salaam at 5pm and after that initial exchange with the transfer desk, he was left alone, Ashton told Insider.
“No one spoke to her. She went to the transfer desk so they knew and then she was abandoned. They put her in the transfer office, packed everything and literally left her alone at the airport.”
At 5:30 am, the only person at the airport was a sleeping security guard. Ashton told her daughter to wake him up so she could talk to him. “By this time, of course, I was like, please take care of my daughter, please take care of my daughter,” she said.
He didn’t understand the situation, other than the fact that she was a teenager alone at the airport, Ashton said.
She kept calling Qatar customer service but was told there would be a manager after 8am?
Once she was able to talk to a manager, Ashton’s daughter was put on the next flight to Doha and then to Heathrow. The experience has left her daughter “traumatized” and fears the experience “has destroyed her self-confidence”.
The teen went to Africa to volunteer for International Volunteer HQ, work in schools and visit orphanages.
British Airways and Qatar did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.