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Mom sues American Airlines after children left in ‘jail-like room’ overnight at CLT

CHARLOTTE — A Flordia mother is suing American Airlines following an incident involving its unaccompanied minor services.

Amber Vencill claims her two children were put in a “jail-like room” overnight at Charlotte Douglas Airport after their connecting flight was canceled.

She spoke with ABC News Transportation Correspondent Gio Benitez about how the airlines “misplaced her children.”

“It’s a feeling no parent ever wants to feel,” Vencill said.

Vencill said last summer her two sons, 10-years-old and 12-years-old, were traveling through American Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Service from Missouri to New York with a layover in North Carolina.

The service costs around $150 each way.

However, the connecting flight to Charlotte got canceled after multiple delays. Vencill said the airline emailed her to let her know her children would be on a flight the next day.

“I have faith that during the transitions at the airports, they would be with a flight attendant since they had that service,” Vencill explained.

Vencill said her boys do not have their own phones, and she claims she was not able to contact them at the number the airline provided.

Vencill also claims that the children were put in a cold room akin to a jail cell overnight.

She said that after several hours, she was able to reach them through an airport employee, who gave the kids water and sandwiches.

“So I thanked her profusely,” she said. “There’s no words to really tell her how much I appreciated her in this moment.”

Vencill said American offered a $150 refund, but she said she wants change.

She also won’t let her kids leave without their phones next time.

“So, while I had the best intentions, it didn’t really work out at this moment. So going forward, they will absolutely have their phones. If they travel alone.”

American Airlines released a statement regarding the incident, saying:

“The safety and comfort of our customers, including unaccompanied minors in our care, are our highest priorities. We have been in touch with Ms. Vencill directly, and we are reviewing the details of the lawsuit.”


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