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American Airlines apologizes after special needs children stranded for 13 hours

American Airlines on Tuesday apologized for failing to notify the mothers and fathers of 9 particular-demands young children that their cross-nation flight dwelling from summer season camp was delayed, leaving the group stranded in a North Carolina airport overnight.

USA Nowadays reported that the young children have been flying dwelling to Portland, Ore. as unaccompanied minors right after paying time at Camp New Buddies, a Charlottesville, Va. camp that welcomes young children with neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition in which tumors create in the brain, spinal cord, nerves and skin.

Their flight out of Charlotte, N.C., was cancelled on Friday evening, leaving the young children to commit the night in the airport.

“Unfortunately, after boarding Flight 1736 from Charlotte to Portland on Friday, the flight experienced a mechanical delay that caused it to remain in Charlotte overnight,” American spokesperson Ross Feinstein told the newspaper. “The children were kept in our dedicated unaccompanied minor room where they were kept safe and comfortable in the care of American Airlines personnel at all times. They departed to Portland on Saturday morning.”

The mothers and fathers, having said that, rejected the airline’s declare that the young children have been supervised and comfy.

They advised USA Nowadays that their young children reported sitting on the plane for 5 hrs ahead of staying sent to a area in the airport exactly where they have been not supervised.

Mother and father explained their young children have been not offered bathroom breaks and have been not ready to charge their phones.

In addition, the young children have been allegedly not ready to consider their migraine or anti-seizure prescription drugs considering the fact that they have been not fed something other than snacks considering the fact that breakfast.

Kelley Phillips, 14, advised nearby Portland information outlet KATU that some of the carry-on bags holding prescriptions have been gate-checked by airline staff for not meeting dimension needs.

“So we have acquired these children who require to consider medication, but they are unable to for the reason that it can be on their carry-on and it can be below the plane and they wouldn’t go get us them,” she explained.

Phillips additional that one child “could finish up possessing a seizure if he will get overstressed.  His seizure medicine was on a single of the carry-ons we had to place below the plane, so we attempted to preserve him calm.”

The mothers and fathers had all paid the $322 charge for their young children to fly as unaccompanied minors, USA Nowadays mentioned.

American states on its web site that it can’t offer “steady” supervision of unaccompanied minors during flight. It only promises to “ensure your youngster is boarded onto the aircraft, launched to the flight attendant, chaperoned through connections and launched to the suitable particular person at their location.”

The policy says that the airline reaches out to the contacts listed on the child’s paperwork in the occasion of a cancellation, delay or scheduling challenges.

Kristie Hoyt, whose eight-12 months-previous son, Hudson, was on the journey, explained that none of the mothers and fathers have been contacted by American.

“Not one parent was contacted by the airline. The only contact that happened was me calling a 12-year-old and having her hand the phone over to flight attendants,” Hoyt advised KATU.

The young children ultimately flew out 13 hrs later on, at eight:43 a.m. on Saturday morning. 

Mother and father explained they are exploring taking legal action towards the airline right after what Hoyt described as a traumatizing practical experience for their young children.

“He called me while they were stuck on tarmac, terrified that he was never coming home, and that he was never going to see me again, and begging me to go to North Carolina and pick him up and bring him home,” explained Hoyt.

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