American Airlines Rebooks Mom on Flight Leaving Days Before Young Sons

  • Sarah Ripmaster woke up to an email saying her flight had changed but her sons weren’t included.
  • American Airlines didn’t add her 7- and 8-year-old boys to her new flight from LaGuardia airport.
  • The airline wanted to put the boys on a Tuesday flight but they would have been left alone in New York.

A mother of two boys, ages seven and eight, woke up Saturday morning thinking she’d be heading home.

But then an email from American Airlines changed everything.

Sarah Ripmaster was supposed to fly back home from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport Saturday, until she realized that American had rebooked her, but not her kids.

Ripmaster said the first thing she felt when she realized what had happened was fear.

“I woke up in New York City yesterday to notice that our flight to ORD had been canceled due to lack of crew. I had a different record locator than my boys, but they were linked together in the system,” Ripmaster, who works for a social media technology platform, told Insider.

She said she was rebooked to leave later Saturday, but “the system had unlinked my boys’ reservation (from me) and said the next flight they could get them on was Tuesday out of LGA.”

Ripmaster then spent hours on the phone with customer service trying to fix the frustrating situation. “When I did reach someone, the American Airlines woman I spoke to was amazing and helpful – but the process is broken,” she said.

Ripmaster's two sons.

Ripmaster’s two sons aged 8 and 7.

Sarah Ripmaster


Ripmaster and her boys were finally rebooked to fly together through Nashville, where they were Sunday at the time of her discussion with Insider. She said they were flying back home, to Chicago, later in the day, although that flight was delayed.

Ripmaster said she is an Executive Platinum member, and so she was most surprised that she wasn’t offered any form of compensation. “I’m very frustrated, but mostly wonder what people who don’t have resources do in this situation.”

She said thankfully she was able to get a hotel and meals. “We are okay, but what about so many others who don’t have these resources to bounce back?”

American Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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