A mom says American Airlines diverted her daughter’s flight without contacting her.
It can cost up to $300 extra dollars for an unaccompanied minor to fly with a major airline, but a North Carolina mom wants other parents to know that extra fee might not buy you as much safety and supervision as you think. In fact, she’s downright livid after she claims American Airlines completely lost track of her 11-year-old daughter on a recent flight, and then lied about it.
In a post on her Facebook page, Corinne Chausse explains that she was supposed to pick up her daughter Maggie, at the Charlotte-Douglas airport at 8:50 p.m. on Monday, but Maggie never arrived because her flight was diverted to Columbia, South Carolina, without her parents being notified. “You think it’s bad when an airline loses your luggage,” she wrote, “well thanks to the uniform incompetence of American Airlines, they lost my 11 year old daughter at 1:30am yesterday!!”
Chausse claims she was told her daughter’s flight was delayed due to bad weather, but then she got a flurry of texts from the 11-year-old saying the flight was cancelled and she was being taken off the plane. She writes:
“They diverted her flight to Columbia SC without ever notifying us. We found out by Maggie frantically texting us. We were assured the plane would eventually come to Charlotte for 3 hours. Even after she texted us again, at 1:30 am she was being taken off the plane, no one from American Airlines notified us of this. That was the last we heard from her.”
Chausse allegedly lost contact with her daughter for over an hour and began driving to Columbia, frantically trying to reach someone from American Airlines. When she finally spoke to a representative, she claims they “insisted she [Maggie] was lying and was landing in Charlotte.” Chausse drove back to Charlotte, only to be told Maggie was in a waiting room for minors in Columbia. Five minutes later, she says she got a text from Maggie saying she was still sitting on the plane.
“They continued to lie to me when I asked them exactly where she was, saying she was in the airport. We finally got in touch with her at 2:30 am after an hour of not knowing where she was. She was sitting in the plane and not in the airport!”
In a statement to WSOCTV, American Airlines said the flight was delayed and then had to be cancelled due to mechanical issues. They claim Maggie was “called up to the front so she could contact her mother” and then “brought into one of the manager’s offices with a female agent to wait.” Chausse refutes those claims and says she believes airline representatives lost track of her daughter and lied about it. She adds that the most upsetting thing was having “no idea who took her off (the plane), where she is, or what she’s thinking.”
She tells WSOCTV she just wants other parents to know paying an extra fee doesn’t necessarily assure your kids are in good hands. “I think parents need to know. Maybe this is ill-placed trust. It certainly is ill-placed money,” she says. “I don’t want another parent to go through this. They need to look at this system they have in place. They’re charging people $300 and they need to examine where it failed because it failed drastically.”
Obviously delays and cancellations happen, but there’s no excuse for losing a child that’s been entrusted into your care, especially after their parents pay extra to prevent that very thing from happening. If parents were cool with not hearing from their kids for hours at a time or spending the entire night driving back and forth between airports, then they’d just buy them a normal ticket and send them on their way. What happened to Maggie and her parents is an unsettling reminder that even systems intended to keep kids safe can turn into a parent’s worst nightmare.