Airline rebooking fees cost Valley mother chance to say goodbye to son


By WILLIAM K. ALCORN

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Airline rebooking fees that Winifred Flood couldn’t afford caused her to miss the chance to say goodbye to her Marine son before he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Distraught by her experience, Flood, of Youngstown, is on a crusade to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to other military mothers and fathers.

She wants airlines to expand their policies governing the waiving of rebooking fees for family members of military personnel to include parents.

In January, Flood booked a flight on US Airways for Feb. 7 from Pittsburgh to Raleigh, N.C., in plenty of time she thought to visit her son, Marine Sgt. Kenneth Flood, and see him off to Afghanistan.

Sgt. Flood, stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., originally was to be deployed sometime between Feb. 9 and 11. But, his departure was moved up to Feb. 7, the day of his mother’s flight.

That’s when Mrs. Flood’s frustrations began.

She called the airline to reschedule the flight that she had booked through Cheap Tickets for $200 and was told that it would cost her an additional $300 — $150 for rebooking and $75 additional cost each way of the flight.

Mrs. Flood, a widowed mother of eight adult children, said she could not afford the additional $300 and asked about waiving the re-booking fees.

She said she was told that US Airways’ policy for waiving fees for family of military personnel being deployed extended only to spouses and children, not parents.

“I told them I would go anytime before Feb. 7, but there was no bend to the policy. It was so upsetting. ... It’s so hurtful I couldn’t say goodbye in person,” she said.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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