Woman Removed from United Flight after Ticket Cancelled. Misses Telling Dying Mom Goodbye


Carrol Amrich was living in Pueblo, Colorado, while her mother, Dixie J. Hanson, was dying in Minnesota. Amrich received the news that her mother was hospitalized on Jan. 16.

Hanson was just a plane ride away. The only factor stopping Amrich from visiting her mom was the cost of a plane ticket, or so it seemed.

The concerned daughter’s landlord, Ines Prelas, generously offered to buy her a plane ticket.

Purchasing the ticket through an online travel agency, Traveler Help Desk, was the most affordable option.

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Amrich was anxious to see her mom so she picked a flight leaving the next day. Her anxiety only grew when she found out Hanson was in heart failure.

Her mother was dying, and she had to find a way to tell her mom goodbye face to face. Hanson likely wouldn’t be alive the next day when Amrich’s flight was scheduled.

Prelas called United Airlines at 2:30 p.m. to see what they could do. Flight UA5712 was leaving at 5:15 p.m. out of Colorado Springs to Denver.

A connecting flight would then head to Minneapolis. Prelas switched Amrich to this flight after pointing out to the United representative the ticket was not directly purchased from United.

Amrich made the hour long trip from Pueblo to the airport. She sat down in her seat after her boarding pass was scanned and should have been mentally preparing to say goodbye to her mom.

Instead, Amrich was approached by a gate agent ordering her to get off the plane.

Traveler Help Desk voided the ticket because the flight change occurred directly through United rather than through their online agency.

Prelas even had gone to the trouble of confirming this very issue would not happen. Yet, Amrich found herself removed from the flight.

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She got in her car, never stopping to use the bathroom, to drive to the hospital. Amrich pleaded with her mom not to let go yet over the phone as her sister held the phone to their mother’s ear.

“I cried the whole way from Pueblo…I drove 1,000 miles, and she was gone before I got here,” Amrich told The New York Times.

Traveler Help Desk supervisor expressed her sympathies for Amrich’s loss, and United requested her address so they could send flowers.

All Amrich really wanted, though, was the chance to hold her dying mom’s hand and tell her goodbye before she passed.

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Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College.
Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College. Carolyn's writing has been featured in both online and print media, including Just Between Us magazine. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and children.
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