United Airlines is coming under fire for removing a woman from a plane who was trying to see her dying mother, the New York Times reports.
Earlier this month, Carrol Amrich was attempting to fly from Colorado to Minnesota. Her landlord, Ines Prelas, had purchased her a $585 plane ticket through the website Traveler Help Desk. When Amrich learned that her mother had become more seriously ill, the landlord paid another $75 so Amrich could fly standby and get to her mother sooner.
Amrich did not have any problems boarding the plane in Colorado Springs, but minutes after she was seated, a United agent told her that her ticket was canceled.
“I said, ‘I’m trying to get home to see my mother. She’s dying,’” Amrich told the New York Daily News. “She goes, ‘I can’t help it. You have to have a ticket, no one flies for free. Please disembark.’
“I knew at that time I’d never see my mother again.”
She left the plane in tears.
Traveler Help Desk has said the snafu occurred because Amrich changed her flight without telling them. The company said the measure was a feature of its fraud-detection system. Amrich begged United to let her back on the plane. Her landlord even offered to pay for another plane ticket.
“I said, ‘Take my credit card. We’ll straighten this out later, but get her on that plane,’” Prelas told the Times.
The agent did not allow Amrich back on the plane. A United spokesperson told the Times that the flight had already departed by that time, although Amrich disputes that claim.
Instead of waiting for another flight, Amrich began driving to Minnesota. Several hours into the trip, she learned that her mother died. United refunded the money spent on the tickets and has offered its condolences to Amrich’s family. Amrich says the airline lacked empathy and compassion.
“I drove 1,000 miles, and she was gone before I got there,” Amrich said. “I never stopped to rest. I went straight through. And she was gone.”’
The day after Amrich’s mother died, Prelas got a call from someone at United asking for Amrich’s address so the company could send flowers.
“What are the flowers going to do?” Prelas told the Times. “You took away from her that she might have been able to see her mother alive.”
[Feature Photo: Pixabay]