Family of special needs child recounts trouble-filled detour to D/FW Airport

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by CARLA WADE

WFAA

Posted on August 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

A Connecticut family flew cross country to attend a medical convention that could help their special needs child.

On the way home, they were forced to stop at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where they said American Airlines promised to accommodate their child's medical needs, but once they arrived, the family said they got nothing but a hassle.

"At this point, I don't think we'd ever consider to fly American again," Laura Bell said.

Bell said her family spent a frustrating night at the airport after mechanical problems delayed their flight from Los Angeles, where they attended a medical conference.

Her son, Ryan, has Treacher Collins syndrome. Due to problems with facial structure, he has hearing problems, severe food allergies, and uses a feeding tube.

They missed a connecting flight that would get them home to Connecticut Wednesday evening, but Laura said the airline assured them they'd be taken care of if they flew on to D/FW.

"They told me because all of the flights were delayed, if we went on to Dallas that all of the luggage would be put off, and we would have all of our medical equipment, and that they would put us up in a hotel,” Bell said. “That didn't happen."

At D/FW, hotel vouchers weren't available. They arrived late. There was no place to eat open. They couldn’t get their luggage. They were offered cots to sleep on.

"To be honest with you, they were filthy," she said. "They were all stained."

So they paid $175 to sleep in a small nap room until they could get a flight out Thursday morning. They arrived home a full 24 hours later than they were supposed to.

"They really haven't put their hand out to fix this situation in any way whatsoever," Bell said.

That was Thursday.

News 8 contacted American Airlines Friday, and a spokesperson said the agent in Los Angeles did promise the family a hotel voucher, access to their luggage, and Ryan's medical supplies. That promise wasn't passed onto agents at D/FW and now American plans to make it up to them.

A spokesperson said they are trying to get in touch with the Bell family, and hope to be able compensate them for the money they spent and the hassle they endured.

 

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