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Mother sues American Airlines after unaccompanied kids went missing

Amber Vencill's children say they were forced to sleep in a cold room and hadn't eaten all day until an airport employee tracked them down.
An American Airlines airplane in flight.
Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 10, 2023

Amber Vencill is suing American Airlines after a terrifying situation for any parent. 

Vencill purchased two plane tickets for her children to fly from Missouri to New York to visit family. They were flying as "unaccompanied minors," which comes with an additional $150 fee that includes an escort to help the children get to the gate of their connecting flight.

That's where problems occurred for Vencill's children.

The lawsuit states that the children flew out of Missouri on July 30, 2022, after numerous delays, and landed in Charlotte, North Carolina. That's where the children were supposed to catch a connecting flight to Syracuse. However, that flight was also delayed and ultimately canceled. 

The person who was supposed to pick up the children in Syracuse was contacted and told that the children would be on a flight the next morning, the lawsuit states. He was also advised that the children would be "in a nice room for unaccompanied minors where there were beds and their own bathroom."

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Around that same time, American Airlines reportedly sent an email to Vencill, stating their her kids' flight would not fly out until the next night. 

Confused about the discrepancy in times, Vencill said she called the number that was supposed to directly connect her to the area where children would be staying. 

"When plaintiff called the purported direct line, there was no response," the lawsuit states.

Vencill said other attempts to contact American Airlines that night were unsuccessful. 

The mother was finally able to get in contact with someone who worked at the Charlotte airport. That individual was able to track down the children, who were apparently in a room for lost kids. 

One of the children told their mom that the room was "freezing" and only had a couch. The child said they also hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day. The airport employee reportedly gave the children food and drinks. 

Ultimately, the children did get onto a flight to Syracuse the next day and were picked up by their mother's partner. 

Vencill is seeking punitive damages from American Airlines for being "reckless" and 'careless" with her children. 

In a statement to Scripps News, American Airlines said, “The safety and comfort of our customers, including unaccompanied minors in our care, are our highest priorities and we’re committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us. We have been in touch with Ms. Vencill directly and we are reviewing the details of the lawsuit.”