American Airlines ‘left disabled kids stranded overnight’

American Airlines ‘left children with disabilities stranded at airport overnight without meals, medication or supervision and failed to contact their parents’ after 13 hour flight delay

  •  The parents of the nine children in question say they paid in excess of hundreds of extra dollars to ensure their children were properly looked after
  • But the children’s week ended on an unsavory note after they say American Airline officials were neglectful and unprepared when their flight was delayed 
  • According to the claims, the children, who all have special needs, were forced to stay on the tarmac for five hours, before spending the night in the airport
  • They say they weren’t properly supervised, given sufficient meals, issued their medication or all given a bed to sleep in or pillows and blankets 
  • Parent’s say the airline failed to properly communicate with them about the delays and the whereabouts of their children 

American Airlines has come under scrutiny from a group of outraged parents in Portland who claim their disabled children were left stranded at an airport for several hours without proper supervision, meals, or medication, following a flight delay on Friday night.

The parents of the nine children in question say they paid hundreds of extra dollars to ensure their children were properly looked after during their trip back from Virginia to Portland, having spent a week at Camp New Friends, a specialist program for children with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis.

But the children’s week ended on an unsavory note after American Airline officials were allegedly neglectful and unprepared when their layover flight was delayed in North Carolina because of mechanical difficulties.

According to the claims, the children were forced to stay on the tarmac for five hours before spending the night in the airport without proper meals or medication.

‘What we went through was a nightmare, and we shouldn’t have had to go through it,’ said 14-year-old Kelsey Phillips to CBS News.

The parents of the nine children in question say they paid in excess of hundreds of extra dollars to ensure their children were properly looked after during their trip back from Virginia to Portland, having spent a week at Camp New Friends, a specialist program for children with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis

‘What we went through was a nightmare, and we shouldn’t have had to go through it,’ said 14-year-old Kelsey Phillips to CBS News

Parent’s say the airline failed to properly communicate with them about the delays and the whereabouts of their children.

The first of the consecutive delays occurred when mechanics on the tarmac overfilled the plane’s fuel tank. By the time the mistake could be rectified, the flight’s pilot and co-pilot had worked too many hours and a replacement needed to be found before the flight could depart.

‘I felt scared,’ eight-year-old Hudson, who suffers from anxiety, told The Washington Post. ‘When the plane stopped moving, I was afraid I was never going to see my mom again.’

Hudson’s mom, Kristie Hoyt, says she requested a direct phone number with American Airlines who could keep her updated on the children’s situation, but the request was denied.

Updates only came when one of the 12-year-olds in the group called her and gave the phone to a flight attendant.

The airline never reached out to her directly, she claims, even though she was listed as the contact for two children on the trip.

Kristie Hoyt (pictured with her son, Hudson), says she requested a direct phone number with American Airlines who could keep her updated on the children’s situation, but the request was denied

According to Hoyt, he son and his friends hadn’t eaten a full meal since they left the camp at breakfast time that morning. The vending machines inside the minor room also didn’t work, she said

But the children’s problems only worsened when they were told their flight had been delayed until the next morning.

The group were allegedly forced to sleep overnight in one of the Charlotte airport’s unaccompanied-minor rooms, with many sleeping on her floor as there wasn’t enough bed or furniture to go round.

According to Hoyt, he son and his friends hadn’t eaten a full meal since they left the camp at breakfast time that morning. The vending machines inside the minor room also didn’t work, she said.

‘American Airlines how are you ok with leaving 9 unaccompanied children all with medical needs on a plane for over 5 hours and not giving their parents updates?’ Hoyt blasted in a Facebook post on Friday night. ‘Or allowing the kids access to electricity to charge their phones to talk to their parents? … You are disgraceful! And harming these children!’

Many of the children within the group required medication with a full meal to prevent seizures and migraines, various parents said, but instead the children were purportedly only given snacks.

Parent Christina Monteith said she received an alarming text from her daughter, Sophie, who told her ‘Mommy, I’m so hungry. I haven’t had lunch, dinner, or breakfast.’ 

Little Sophie also claimed she was told she wasn’t allowed to switch off the lights in the minor room or use the bathroom regularly. Also, not all of the children were given pillows and blankets, Sophie said.


Parent Christina (left) Monteith said she received an alarming text from her daughter, Sophie (right), who told her ‘Mommy, I’m so hungry. I haven’t had lunch, dinner, or breakfast.’


‘American Airlines how are you ok with leaving 9 unaccompanied children all with medical needs on a plane for over 5 hours and not giving their parents updates?’ Hoyt blasted in a Facebook post on Friday night. ‘Or allowing the kids access to electricity to charge their phones to talk to their parents? … You are disgraceful! And harming these children!’

Parents were finally reunited with their children 13 hours than expected on Saturday

The following morning, the children were awoken and hurried to make a 6:00am flight but were not provided food aboard the plane as promised, even when the flight was delayed again because ‘the catering service wasn’t delivered.’

Tensions then reached boiling point when the children finally arrived in Portland – 13 hours later than expected – and Hoyt was asked to sign for a child that wasn’t hers.

In total, the anguished mother says the children were forced to go more than 24 hours without a full meal.

Hoyt, along with the other parents are now demanding answers. 

American Airlines have since issued a public statement of apology and attributed the overnight delay to a mechanical issue.

Officials claim the children were kept ‘safe and comfortable’ in the care of airline personnel.

‘Our team is in the process of reaching out to the families involved and sincerely apologizes for this travel experience. We will be reviewing with our teams internally to understand how we can do better next time,’ the airline wrote.

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