Mother Suing AA For Losing Daughter’s Ashes Flying Home From Funeral
A grieving mother is suing American Airlines after she claims they lost her 28 year old daughter’s ashes on a flight. The lawsuit stems from the woman carrying the ashes on her carry on, but at the gate, she was forced to hand the bag over to be checked. The mother apparently told the AA staff that she was carrying the ashes and wanted to carry the bag, but the airline said they had to take the bag. The mother claims she ended up giving them the bag, thinking they were going to bring the bag on the airplane for her.
Well, the airline didn’t bring it on the plane for her as she expected. As the plane left, she realized the bag wasn’t with her and the airline had checked the bag.
According to Travel and Leisure:
In March 2016, Pierre-Canel traveled from Baltimore, where her daughter’s funeral was held, back to her home in Tucson, Arizona. According to Pierre-Canel, she packed her daughter’s ashes in her carry-on luggage, however, when arrived at the gate, she was asked by an American Airlines Employee to check her bag.
The woman told NBC news that she definitely informed the airline that she was carrying the ashes, but that did not stop the airline from checking the bag any way.
Finally, the suitcase showed up, but the ashes and urn were not in the bag. The woman made a claim for items in the carry-on, an amount she estimated at $24,000, but she did not include a monetary value for the urn/ashes in her original statement. The mother says she left that out of the claim because she could not put a monetary value on it. Now, she’s suing the airline and her attorney says that American Airlines did not meet their duty of carriage terms.
American Airlines 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 there were cremated ashes in the bag, we would had have 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.”
While it is definitely known by many valuables should not be kept in a checked bag, one has to surmise the mother was going through a difficult time, having just buried her young daughter. She was likely still numb from the pain of a parent’s loss. I also find it interesting that American claims to have their gate agents check to see if there are valuables in the bag. I have been on quite a few flights where they’ve gate checked bags and I don’t recall them making that disclaimer when taking the bag.