For unaccompanied minors traveling with American Airlines, parents pay an extra $300 on top of the ticket price to cover the additional care staff puts in to make sure a child gets from point A to point B safely. One mom from Charlotte, NC — who paid that extra cost to send her 11-year-old daughter to visit with family in New York — was failed by this system after being lied to about the whereabouts of her daughter, and wants to warn other parents.
Corinne Chausse and her husband were expecting their daughter Maggie to arrive back in Charlotte at 8:50 p.m. on Monday, and although American Airlines confirms that the flight out of New York was delayed due to weather, Corrine didn't hear from Maggie until 1:30 a.m., when she called from Columbia, SC, after the plane was rerouted there. Maggie told her parents that she was being taken off her plane because her flight was canceled. The worried parents lost contact with Maggie for over an hour — they were halfway to Columbia to get her when American Airlines informed them that the flight was going ahead and would be on its way to Charlotte, but then as they got back to Charlotte, they were informed yet again that the flight was canceled.
Frantic at this point, Corrine says an American Airlines employee tried to reassure her that her daughter was in a room for minors at Columbia airport, but five minutes later, Maggie called to say she was still on the plane. "They blatantly lied to me about where she was," Corrine told WSOCTV.
This communication nightmare between Corrine and the airline is enough to make any mother never want to allow her child to ever fly alone, but on top of that, Maggie was on her plane for more than nine hours and none of the employees who were meant to be caring for her gave her anything to eat.
Corrine has tried to contact American Airlines, but she hasn't heard back.
"I don't want another parent to go through this," she said. "They need to look at this system they have in place. They're charging people $300 for it and they need to examine where it failed because it failed drastically." However, she says she's less concerned with a refund at this point because she now has a bigger problem to handle: after this experience, her daughter has said she never wants to fly again.