CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The purchased flight was from Gainesville, Florida to New York City with a layover in Charlotte. The plan was for the teen to get off the plane in Charlotte where he lives. His father says he would have never put his son in this predicament if he knew this would happen.
It was the first time Logan Parsons flew by himself.
“We’ve used Skip Lagged almost exclusively for the last five to eight years,” said Hunter Parsons, Logan’s father. “Booked a flight from Gainesville regional to JFK via Charlotte.”
Hunter Parsons felt his son would be OK, but once at the airport in Florida with his North Carolina Driver’s license the gate agent was skeptical of his final destination.
“Interrogated a little bit, ultimately taken to a security room,” added Hunter Parsons. “They kind of got out of him that he was planning to disboard in Charlotte and not going to make the connecting flight.”
The Parsons weren’t aware hidden city ticketing, also known as skip lagging, was frowned upon in the airline industry. An American Airlines representative canceled the ticket and made the family purchase a new direct flight ticket.
“Our concerns are he is a minor and was kind of left to fend for himself several states away,” says Hunter Parsons.
“It’s the first time he’s flown, and he really doesn’t know what he is doing,” said Bruce Brandon, an aviation attorney, as he listened to some facts of the interaction. “It seems to be a bit harsh to me. I just don’t understand why they would do this.”
Brandon says airlines have been cracking down on hidden city ticketing. In 2018 German carrier Lufthansa brought a lawsuit against a passenger but later dropped it. Brandon believes there is a bigger question that needs to be answered.
“Was it a security issue or was it a contract issue?” added Brandon. “Was he held against his will in that back room?”
American Airlines sent a statement to Queen City News saying, “Purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden city ticketing) is a violation of American Airlines terms and conditions and is outlined in our Conditions of Carriage online. Our Customer Relations team has been in touch with the customer to learn more about their experience.”
“I think a stern warning, ‘Hey this is frowned upon, if you do it again there would be consequences, financial penalties,'” said Hunter Parsons, when asked what he would have liked to see happen. “But to put a minor in that situation was really the reason we have a concern.”
An American Airlines spokesperson says part of the conversation they want to have with the Parsons will be about Logan Parsons being detained in Florida. The spokesperson says they didn’t know about that part of the incident until Queen City News reached out to the company.
As for a refund of the fare, that may not happen because the Parsons violated the contract of travel, and the three-year ban will most likely stay as well.
Queen City News was told there is no timeline on when the investigation will be complete.