In Need Of Assistance
She wanted to know if the airline could assist them in finding any accommodation or a hotel close by, but she was met with an irritated gaze from the attendant.
Ignoring her request for assistance, she informed them that the flight could be postponed to the following day. It wasn’t long before Kerry and her daughter were out in the 2 AM snow that covered the parking lot.
When Kerry Alban and her daughter decided to book a flight to Juneau, Alaska, they only wanted to spend their Christmas with their family away from the hustle and bustle of New York.
Kerry was finalizing the last of her nursing exams for the holiday while her daughter had already cleared her first-grade tests. A simple trip home would result in one of the most distressing experiences of their lives.
As with many Americans during the holidays, Kerry and her kid were sure to book their flight early enough to avoid any inconveniences caused by delays.
Kerry, who hadn’t been home for nine months, couldn’t wait to see her family and old room again. She cleared her exams, packed their bags, and hopped into an airport-bound cab as quickly as possible. She had no clue what awaited her and her daughter at the airport.
A 9 PM Flight
Kerry and Leila, her daughter, had secured a 9 PM flight that would last seven hours in the sky. Kerry hoped they’d sleep through the flight and wake up in the snow-covered north she called home.
They made their way through the many airport halls to their terminal, ready for their long flight together. But trouble was already barreling their way.
The Airline Crisis
“I thought that the airline crisis wouldn’t affect me, but it turns out it did,” Kerry shared, telling her story on a popular social media platform.
Many travelers had been facing nightmares while trying to traverse the country that winter. Kerry had heard several heartbreaking stories of flights being canceled. She never thought she’d suffer a far worse fate.
“Leila and I waited through six delays until our flight was canceled,” said Kerry. The flight that was supposed to take off at 9 PM was first pushed to 10 PM because of weather changes.
The delays kept coming until, by the end of it, six hours had passed, with Kerry and her daughter still waiting at the terminal. Although she tried to stay hopeful throughout the ordeal, Kerry couldnt help but admit that they wouldn’t be flying that night.
Past 2 AM
The flight attendants assured the mom and daughter, among other passengers, that they would fly that night. But a few minutes past 2 AM, they announced that the flight was pushed until 2 PM the next day.
Since most airport terminals didn’t operate past 2 AM, an attendant insisted on accompanying Kerry and Leila to pick up their luggage. Afterward, he sent them to the main terminal. The nightmare was about to begin.
The Main Terminal
The attendant who helped Kerry get her luggage informed her she’d get further assistance at the main terminal. But now that she and Leila were here, no one else was in sight.
Growing a bit worried, Kerry decided to reach out to one of the attendants from the airline she’d booked. It was too late in the night for her daughter and her to return to her college apartment, and she wondered if the airline could offer them accommodation.
Kerry asked the attendant if the airline could help them find accommodation or point them to a nearby hotel. But instead of answering her, the attendant furrowed her brows with irritation in her eyes.
She didn’t offer Kerry and her daughter assistance, only insisting that the flight had been postponed to the next day. Her nightmares were only beginning to take shape.
Help Us, Please
Kerry stood for minutes, pondering the attendant’s reaction. She looked around the terminal, realizing the place was almost empty.
Hoping to get a different response and hopefully a safe place for her and Leila to lay their heads for the night, she reached out to another attendant. But the answer she’d get would be even more heartbreaking.
Asking For Assistance
“Excuse me, ma’am,” Kerry called, hurrying to an attendant that happened to be passing by. The woman faced her, stopping in her tracks as she saw Kerry pulling her luggage in one arm and holding a kid in the other.
“Hi,” she greeted Kerry with a bright smile. “Can I help you with something?” “Yes,” Kerry said. “I need to know if there are any hotels nearby. My daughter and I need a place to stay.”
The attendant’s smile faded immediately, a look of fatigue replacing it. But that look leached away as she informed Kerry that the airline wasn’t responsible for their accommodation.
She added that she’d only been in the town for a few days as an attendant and couldn’t tell which hotels surrounded the airport. Excusing herself, she left the young mom stumped.
What To Do Now
“I held my composure,” revealed Kerry. “I was shaking, and I was very, very distraught by the way I was being treated.”
She tried to reach out to another attendant, hoping to at least get a few hotel names she could visit. But none of them came to her aid. She knew the night would be a tough one.
“They didn’t even have the decency to give us three names of nearby hotels that may or may not have availability that we could check,” Kerry said.
She resorted to asking anyone around for directions to nearby hotels, but the attendants called security to escort her and her daughter out. Before she knew it, they were alone in a snow-swallowed parking lot at 2 AM.
The Cold Winds
The frozen December winds blew with vigor as Kerry stepped into the dark. She carried Leila in one hand and dragged their luggage with the other.
Given that it was late at night, the airport’s entrance was clear of any cars. Snow piled everywhere, stretching into the darkness from which the dim lights of a sleeping town twinkled. What had Kerry gotten herself into?
At The Parking Lot
Kerry and Leila were locked outside of the airport past midnight. Hoping to at least find a parked cab on the lot at the end of the airport, the mom hurried there.
But all she found was more snow and darkness. “There was no soul on that lot except Leila and me, and we’re standing there with all our belongings,” she said. What was she to do?
Lost And Hopeless
To make matters, Kerry had carried all her cards with her, including bank cards, passports, and national and school IDs. She also had her daughter’s information with her.
“Someone could have easily pulled up with their car and caused harm to us.” She felt lost, hopeless, and vulnerable, praying that she and her kid would make it through the night.
Safe And Sound
Kerry was forced to think fast. She tried to get a taxi via the numerous apps on her phone, but luck wasn’t on her side.
No driver was remotely close to the airport, prompting her to move to her second plan. She would fight tooth and nail to ensure her daughter was safe through the night.
Kerry pulled up her phone’s map and perused all available hotels in the area. Calling each of them after the other, she began asking for accommodations.
But it was almost Christmas, so many tourists were visiting New York, making it difficult to find a vacant room. But that wasn’t the worst part of her search.
Each of the hotels Kerry called had costly room prices. Most went for five hundred dollars and above, making the night worse than it already was.
But no price was too high when it came to Leila’s safety and well-being. Kerry would get a room even if it cost her an arm and a leg.
Expensive But Worth It
After a thirty-minute search, Kerry finally managed to get a room for seven hundred dollars. But as a young mom, she didn’t have that kind of money lying around. She dipped into cash meant for her student loan payments and settled the bill.
“I couldn’t risk my child’s health and safety. I had to do it.” But now that they had a room, they still had to reach the hotel safely.
A Quiet, Lonely Road
The road from the airport to the hotel was quiet, frozen in icy winds and blanketed in thick snow. Kerry made her way cautiously, pulling her bag with her eyes peeled.
The hotel was two miles away, and although Kerry was used to running longer distances, she’d never experienced a more frightening experience. She wasn’t even halfway through when something happened.
Leila Wakes Up
Leila, asleep in her mom’s arms, suddenly woke up. Taken aback by the darkness around her, cold breeze, and scant light from flickering street lights, she decided to inquire.
“Mommy, where are we?” the little girl asked. “Going on an adventure, sweety,” Kerry answered. She hoped the panic coursing through her veins wouldn’t leak into her words, transferring to her sweet daughter. But what Leila would say would leave her speechless.
Her Daughter’s Words
“Go back to sleep,” Kerry said soothingly, her eyes glued on the path before them, her ears isolating each sound around them. “We’re gonna be all right, mommy,” Leila said and tucked her head onto Kerry’s chest.
“Her words strengthen me,” Kerry shared while recalling the moment. Leila’s words beat all the fear and panic from her system, birthing energy in her that wasn’t there before.
Safe At Last
Before Kerry knew it, she was at the hotel’s entrance. She let out a sigh of relief as a valet ran to her, taking her luggage and ushering her into the warm hotel.
The mom and daughter duo would spend the night in a warm room away from the snowfall. They would enjoy a wonderful assortment of pastries and hot chocolate. But in the morning, Kerry would begin her quest for justice.
Kerry called airport management the following day, detailing her experience. She explained how badly she and her daughter were treated at the airport after their flight was postponed.
She continued by revealing how she and Leila spent an hour in the snow-covered parking lot searching for hotel accommodation and the long and dangerous two-mile trek that followed. She would get her revenge.
At Least Apologize
Kerry expected the airline to offer an apology for the harrowing night she’d had. But the airport management told her it could do nothing since the people she’d dealt with were employed by the airline.
But when she called the airline, their representative told her the airline was neither liable for the weather change that caused the delays nor the airport closing. But it didn’t stop there.
“We’re not liable for our reps berating you,” the airline stated. “We’re not liable for anything.” The airline and airport representatives would throw Kerry into limbo after directing her to customer care, where none of her calls would go through.
Giving up, she and Leila would board the 2 PM flight and head home. Kerry would share her story online for awareness, not knowing the results it would garner.
Going Back Home
Kerry’s story went viral. In a caption accompanying the post, she wrote, “I love traveling because I love learning more about the world and seeing so many different corners of the world.”
“I never really have had any disastrous trips, but it sucks that I’m going to look back on this particular trip that had good memories while I was there tainted by the bad memory of me trying just to go back home.” But she didn’t stop there.
Help, If You Can
Kerry called out the airline and airport for not offering her help. They didn’t care that she was a woman carrying a child and luggage, with every bit of personal information on her.
They didn’t even bother to point her to a hotel where she could help herself. She hopes that these companies can be more humane. Taking a minute to assist someone costs nothing.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.