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After Buying Companion Service, West Fargo Mom Says Airline Left Kids Alone At Airport

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It's a nightmare scenario for any parent, knowing your children are unattended inside a busy airport.

A West Fargo woman says that nightmare became her reality when her 14 and 9-year-old daughters went on an international trip leaving from Fargo -- after she bought a companion service.

The tickets were supposed to be the start of a wonderful adventure for 2 West Fargo girls, going to Barcelona for the first time to see their father. What the trip to and from Barcelona turned out to be was something far less than enjoyable.

"I was pretty nervous, I didn't know where to go, it was my first time," says 14-year old Ayna Alves.

Alves says she was left to navigate Chicago's O'Hare airport with her younger sister. 

American Airlines telling her since she's 14, she isn't considered a minor and was on her own.

Her mother says she paid 150 dollars for an airline employee to escort them their entire journey to Barcelona, from Fargo to Chicago, Chicago to Philadelphia and on to Spain.

"Well I have a 9-year-old with me is there anyway you can show me where to go? They said no because you're not minor you can show her where to go too," says Alves.

"Basically all I paid for was for nothing because they just left my kids in Chicago," says mother Alessandra Warm.

Ayna successfully navigated the remainder of her flights to Barcelona.

Nearly two months later for their return trip, Warm says her ex-husband tried to purchase the companion service again.

She says the airline told him it wasn't available because of the girls age.They continued to New York's JFK anyway. There, more trouble. Their flight was delayed 2 hours after already boarding, then cancelled.

"And basically told them to get out. So the other passengers on that plane basically tried to find a place for them to stay tried to help them out because the airline itself didn't help them at all," says Warm.

Leaving her 2 daughters unattended again. Warm says she pleaded with an airline customer service rep, who was less than helpful.

"Basically blamed me for not purchasing another assistance for them to come back, said well this is your fault, what kind of mother you are," says Warm.

The representative eventually booked a hotel for the 2 girls. Warm - grateful for her older daughter.

"I'm very proud of her, I think she did an amazing job of you know, keeping her sister safe," says Warm.

 Warm hoping this story becomes a lesson.

"Even if the airlines are promising you a service, that service, you don't know what's going to happen after they leave," says Warm.

An American Airlines representative says they are looking into the matter.

Brian Abel
Brian joined WDAZ in October of 2014, after reporting and anchoring at WDAY in Fargo since October 2013. He currently co-anchors the 6 and 10pm WDAZ News weekdays, and co-anchors the Saturday 6 and 10pm WDAY/WDAZ simulcast news. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. Brian has traveled across the country as a spokesperson for the automotive industry. He has also lived in Los Angeles, working in entertainment before pursuing his career in broadcasting. It’s experiences like these that give him a unique perspective when reporting. Brian is a Michigan Wolverines fan with an avid interest in politics and golf.  He is thrilled to be sharing stories with the Greater Grand Forks community working at WDAZ and looks forward to hearing any of your comments, concerns and story ideas.