The Investigators

Aug 9, 2012 2:00 AM

No shoes, no flight

TUCSON - Almost everyone's has some kind of horror story about airline travel. One woman traveling with her two very young children has one that still has her in tears.

She contacted the news 4 Tucson Investigators for answers.

"Flying with a child is stressful. Flying by yourself with both your kids is really stressful."

Shannon Hopkins was traveling with baby Penny, almost one, and Helena who is two
The family switched planes in Tucson for a flight to Phoenix.

They were on that US Airways plane for several minutes when Shannon says a flight attendant came to her seat.

"The flight attendant said 'Ma'am, just so you know your children are supposed to be wearing shoes.'"

She didn't think much of it until several minutes later. Shannon tells us the plane was full and looked ready for take-off when a gate attendant appeared.

"And she said 'You need to get off this plane. Neither of your children have shoes on. That's a policy of ours. You must get off the plane.'"

Shannon says she was confused.

"I've never heard of this before. Is this new? Can you explain this to me?"

Shannon herded up the kids, all of their belongings and got off the plane.

She says she was afraid of missing connecting flights and being stranded overnight. She also worried that if she became too upset employees might call security.

"I was just so upset that all I could do was cry."

Eventually Shannon got shoes for the girls after they brought up her luggage but the airline wouldn't let the family back on the plane. The door was locked and it was ready for take-off. They had to take a later flight.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators contacted T.S.A. to see if shoes for youngsters are required. T.S.A. says that is up to the airlines.

We couldn't find a policy on US Airway's website requiring shoes and they sent us this statement via email.

When Mrs. Hopkins and her daughter boarded their flight, our crew members noticed that her daughter was not wearing shoes. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of her daughter, the crew requested that the mother put shoes on the child for the flight. The mother was either unable to do so, or refused to do so, so the crew requested that they be booked on the next flight thereby giving Mrs. Hopkins ample time to obtain shoes for her daughter.

Our contract of carriage states that we may refuse to transport any passenger who may pose a threat to the comfort and/or safety of other passengers or employees. The crew was concerned for the safety of the child had an emergency occurred or there was an unexpected need to evacuate the aircraft. We defer to the professional decisions of our crews to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers, including Mrs. Hopkins and her daughter, onboard our aircraft. Mrs. Hopkins and her daughter were immediately rebooked on the following flight and, after obtaining shoes for the daughter, they traveled to their destination. We again apologize to Mrs. Hopkins and her family for any inconvenience this may have caused and our customer relations team is reaching out to Mrs. Hopkins to come to a resolution on this matter.

--US Airways

The day after The Investigators contacted US Airways, the airlines contacted Shannon. She tells us they offered her 2 vouchers for future flights. However she says she feels that offer is too little, too late.

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