What’s the only thing that just might be worse than being stuck in an airplane for hours? How about being stuck in an airport for days?
While that might sound better than being stuck on an airplane for that long, at least you know if you’re stuck on the plane, the airline has a legal obligation to make it right, and at the very least, feed you.
The Saxton family could only afford to feed themselves overpriced airport food — including their 13-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son — in the airport once a day during the time they were stranded. And since the Passenger Bill of Rights only protects people actually on the plane and has a legal obligation to reimburse them monetarily, they got zilch from the airline.
The family had used a relative’s Jet Blue buddy passes to fly from Virginia to Utah, and since buddy passes basically render you lowest man on the totem pole, when they tried to get home during the height of the busy summer travel season, they had to wait from Aug. 15 through the 21 before seats became available. (Flying with buddy passes means you only get on board after all paying passengers and standby passengers have checked in and there’s still room on the flight — an airline won’t bump a paid passenger for one flying for free, no matter how long they’ve been waiting for a seat.)
Due to limited funds, the family couldn’t afford a motel, so they slept on airport benches and could only scrape together one meal a day. At one point the 4-year-old son had to be seen by airport paramedics because he was vomiting and crying about how he’d been so hungry.
“There’s a lot of people walking by and staring at you and kind of laughing at you,” the mom said. “It doesn’t feel very good.”
And, of course, forget about showering.
“You feel gross,” the 13-year-old daughter said. “It’s embarrassing.”
Neither the family nor their relatives could afford to purchase the tickets back home at the standard price.
Thankfully, though, all’s well that ends well — when word got out about the family’s dilemma, United Airlines kindly bought them a motel room and a generous anonymous donor bought them a ticket back home.
While it might not have been in the family’s best interest to travel in the first place if they couldn’t afford the potential of being stranded, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic at least to the children dragged along for the ride (or the delay, as was the case).
Photo credit: iStock
More from Meredith on Strollerderby:
- The Daddy Saddle’ and Other Hazardous Toys that Make Me Glad I Wasn’t a Parent in the ’50s and ’60s