Travel Trouble

Joanita Wibowo

Parents' surprise credit card bill after son books $2,300 flights

Parents' surprise credit card bill after son books $2,300 flights

A 13-year-old boy has given his parents a shock after he bought a $2,300 return flight from Adelaide to Rio de Janeiro using their credit card.

The New Zealand boy booked the NZ$2,400 Qantas tickets through the flight booking site Webjet on a hand-me-down phone which still had his parents’ credit card details loaded, the Sunday Star Times reported.

The autistic boy’s father, who wished to remain anonymous, said he first became aware of the booking when he received a confirmation email from Webjet, which he and his wife initially dismissed as a scam.

“When we discovered it was real my heart started to flutter and I ended up on the phone to Qantas and Webjet trying to sort it out all weekend,” he said.

“[The boy] has always been interested in travel and often talks about travelling. We think what’s happened is he’s seen a Webjet ad on TV while my wife was making tea in the kitchen.”

The father cancelled the booking in an attempt to get a refund, but he was still hit with cancellation fees. 

“I explained that he was a minor and on the autism spectrum but there was not much response to that,” he said.

On Friday, a Qantas spokesperson confirmed that the case had been reviewed following media enquiries, and the family would receive a full refund. 

“We’ve taken another look at the case and it is a genuine mistake so we’ll be making sure the fares are refunded without any cancellation fee being applied.”

The parents have been told the repayment could take 12 weeks, but the father said he was relieved to gain the money back. He said he would make sure to clear his old phones in the future.

“We’ve cancelled our credit cards too, just to be on the safe side. It definitely could be a good lesson for others.”

Last year, a 12-year-old Sydney boy made headlines after he stole his parents’ credit card and flew to Bali alone. Following a family argument, the boy reportedly went to the airport, boarded a flight for Perth and another for Indonesia. He spent four days on the island, where he checked into the All Seasons hotel, drank beer and hired a scooter. The boy was eventually found by the police and taken home by his parents.