United Airlines allegedly removed a woman from the plane, while she was on her way to see her dying mother. As Carrol Amrich was getting situated on a flight from Pueblo, Colorado to Minnesota, a flight attendant pulled her aside and told her that she had to get off the flight because her ticket had been canceled. She was then escorted off the plane. After she pleaded with the flight attendants to let her fly, they informed her that “nobody flies for free.”
As soon as Amrich was in the terminal, she called her landlord, Ms. Prelas, who purchased the ticket for her because she couldn’t afford the last minute flight. Prelas had agreed to help Amrich with the cost of the ticket as soon as she found out that her mother was ill. The ticket was purchased through an online agency called Traveler Help Desk. After the ticket had originally been purchased, Amrich learned that her mother was having heart troubles and would not make it through the night, so she called United and changed the ticket to an earlier flight. According to Traveler Help Desk, this is what prompted the cancellation. There was some debate between the agency and United, which resulted in the cancellation of both flights that had been booked.
Prelas gave her credit card info to the flight attendant and told them to get Amrich back on the plane, but the agent denied her request because the plane had already taken off.
On a mission to see her mother before she passed, Amrich rented a car and drove 1,000 miles to Minnesota, without even stopping for a bathroom break. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it in time, and her mother had died before she arrived.
“I drove 1,000 miles, and she was gone before I got here,” Amrich said. “I never stopped to rest. I went straight through. And she was gone. I cried the whole way from Pueblo. I’ve been awake for two days. I haven’t had anything to eat in two days.”
According to Carolyn Gallant, a customer service representative at Traveler Help Desk, they voided the ticket to protect against fraud, and they had no way of knowing that her original ticket had been changed. Gallant claims that she reached out to Amrich several times after she noticed the change in the system.
“I am just so sorry for Ms. Amrich’s loss,” said Gallant. “It is tragic. I understand it was unfortunate the ticket ended up voided. Had she contacted us directly to make the change, this all would have been avoided.”
United Airlines is equally sorry for the situation and they have reached out to Amrich asking where they could send flowers.
“What are the flowers going to do?” said Gallant. “You took away from her that she might have been able to see her mother alive. If I’d have been at that gate, I would have done everything in my power to get her back on that plane.”
This isn’t the first time that United Airlines has received criticism for their seat policies and customer service. The airline was recently under public scrutiny when a woman claimed that she was bumped from her first class seat for a congresswoman.