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Mother Takes Action Against American Airlines for Lost Ashes

Iddy Pierre-Canel was asked to check the bag containing her daughter’s ashes on a recent flight from Baltimore. The ashes were then lost and Pierre-Canel is now taking legal action.

An American Airlines (AA) passenger is taking legal action against the carrier after it allegedly lost her daughter’s cremated remains. On 5 March 2016, Iddy Pierre-Canel was returning to Tuscon, Arizona, from Baltimore, Maryland, where her daughter’s funeral and cremation had just taken place. As reported in Travel + Leisure, Pierre-Canel had packed the urn containing the ashes of her daughter, Carm-Idrelle Casseus, in her carry-on, but was asked by a gate agent to check her bag.

Pierre-Canel told Arizona NBC affiliate 12News.com that she reiterated to the agent that she did not wish to check the bag. However, the agent then took the bag and Pierre-Canel was left to assume that it would be brought to the plane for her.

Upon arrival in Arizona, the bag was not delivered to Pierre-Canel, who then compiled a list of the items that she had lost as per AA’s policy, reports TravelPulse. While her effects were valued at $24,0000, the urn containing her daughter’s ashes was not one of the items listed by Pierre-Canel and the woman was unable to produce any receipts for these goods.

However, Pierre-Canel’s lawyer, Lorraine Morey, has clarified that the urn was not on this itemized list because it was impossible for Pierre-Canel to assign it a tangible monetary value. “The contract of carriage with the airline does state that valuable and invaluable property should be kept with the person in the cabin,” Morey said.

On 17 March 2017, Pierre-Canel filed a $10 million suit against AA for the lost urn. A few days after this, AA returned the carry-on, but without the urn inside. “I went through it [the bag]. I was screaming. I was hurt,” she said.

In a statement to 12News.com, the carrier said, “When we need customers to gate check a bag, we always ask for customers to remove all valuables and important documents. Had we known that there were cremated ashes in the bag, we would have had her remove them or found a place for the bag. We apologized for losing the items and certainly are very sorry for her terrible loss.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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2 Comments
M

well the loss of a loved one is unfortunate who in their right mind would handover a bag with the remains of their loved one without at least taking out the urn??

B
Boggie Dog May 7, 2017

Being "very sorry" doesn't fix things. The ashes of this woman's daughter can never be replaced and no amount of sorry changes that fact. The airlines have some serious customer service issues and a large amount of those problems lie with public facing employees.