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Mother Accuses American of Dumping Children in “Freezing” Room

A Florida mother who allowed her children to fly as unaccompanied minors aboard American is accusing the carrier of giving conflicting information about their whereabouts and leaving them overnight in a lost children’s room.
American Airlines is facing legal action after a mother accused the airline of providing misinformation and not taking care of her children after a cancelled flight.


The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court on Oct. 31, 2023, is suing the carrier for how they allegedly handled the situation with the two unaccompanied minors.


American Accused of Misinformation, Not Providing Adequate Accommodations

The lawsuit was brought by Amber Vencill as the mother of the two children traveling unaccompanied with American. The pair were flying from Missouri – where they visited with their father – to Syracuse, New York, to visit her current partner and his family.


According to the suit, the children had one connection at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). While they made the first flight without incident, their second flight from Charlotte to Syracuse was cancelled, which is where the family claims trouble began.


Per airline policies, the lawsuit claims her partner – identified as “Ted” – was called after the cancellation and told the children would be aboard a flight to Syracuse at 9:00 a.m. the next day. Their mother accuses American of giving her different information, sending an e-mail claiming they wouldn’t fly until 5:21 p.m. In the interim, Vencill claims American told her the children “would be in a nice room for unaccompanied minors where there were beds and their own bathroom.”


The family claims none of that happened. Instead, they say the children were put in a “freezing” room for lost children with only one sofa and the lights remaining on all night. They further say a phone number given to call the children did not work, and they were only able to speak to them by calling the airport directly.


During a conversation with the children, Vencill claims they said they were not given food or drink by the airline, and another “kind woman” not employed by the airline bought them food. Ultimately, the children were able to continue to Syracuse after the overnight delay. When Vencill reportedly e-mailed the American board of directors detailing the situation, she claims she was only offered an apology and a $150 refund of the unaccompanied minors fees.


Vencill and her attorneys are requesting an unspecified amount from the airlines in compensation for the incident. American Airlines has not provided a public comment about the accusations.


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ontheway November 10, 2023

Reading some of these comments is frightening...that there are so many ignorant people!!! For heaven's sake: there are itineraries that only have connections; there may be school days or holidays that affect a child's trip; when you purchase something you should get what you pay for....the airline was paid to ensure the comfort and safety of the children....not just their survival!!!!

bortain November 8, 2023

What is lacking here is AA's side of the story. Hearing only one side of the story skews the opinion towards the party who is telling their story. I am sure the truth is somewhere in the middle between AA's side of the event and that of the mom.

Chuckygii November 8, 2023

I got lost trying to figure out which parent the kids were trying to visit or if it was their partner(s).   But, despite the inconvenience, they arrived safely and suffered no harm.   At age ten or twelve, I would've enjoyed the adventure.   No lawsuit is needed.   

MRM November 8, 2023


I believe UA should sue Vencill over her lack of intelligence and parenting skills for twice as much as she's suing UA.   Just so dumb - I would NEVER trust the airlines to do anything for me this important. 

Athena53 November 8, 2023

I'm not fond of lawsuits but yes, AA needs to do more than refund a $150 fee.  Unfortunate that we don't know the ages of the boys nor do we know how experienced they are at travel.  My son took his first flight at 12 but it was a nonstop and he'd flown back and forth from NJ to Myrtle Beach, where my parents lived, with me plenty of times and that involved a connection.  I belive that the airlines' rules for kids in the 5-6 year old age range are stricter- higher fees, more supervision.It was pre-cell phone days but I always gave my son a "callling card" (would allow long-distance calls from a pay phone) and some cash.