UPDATE 10/30/17 - Daughter Jayce is back in her daddy's arms again.
Sunday, Master Sergeant Chris returned home from his deployment in Afghanistan to a hero's welcoming.
Mom Mary got to hug her son for the first time in eight months.
She made it safely aboard an American Airlines flight from Oklahoma City to Omaha.
Remember, after son's return home was pushed back, Mary was forced to pay extra fees to change her flight, which her family had a big problem with.
“I just needed to get off my chest and say this is wrong, especially when it comes to a mom and her son who is in the military,” said cousin Mary King.
We were able to convince American Airlines to reissue Mary her ticket and refund her the $200 change fee, due to the unforeseen circumstances.
Mary tells the In Your Corner team the reunion was pure magic and she was even able to use some of the refund to buy groceries for her son's first home cooked meal.
Welcome home, Master Sergeant.
We salute you!
UPDATE 10/20/17 - Mary Walker has her smile back!
“You wouldn't believe something that small and little could make such a big difference,” she said.
All Mary wants to do was to get to her son when he lands in Omaha, Nebraska.
After his return home was delayed, she was forced to pay extra fees to change her flight, basically the equivalent of buying a second ticket.
What made the situation that much more confusing was Mary purchased the ticket through a third party, online travel agent Travelocity but, at the end of the day, it is American Airlines that has final say with what happens to the ticket.
“I wasn't getting anywhere,” Mary said.
That is until Mary's cousin, Mary King, asked us to jump into action.
“I just needed to get off my chest and say this is wrong, especially when it comes to a mom and her son who is in the military,” King said.
Her persistence worked, and so did ours.
American Airlines is now reissuing Mary her ticket and refunding her the $200 change fee, plus the extra $175 she was forced to put toward the change.
Now, Mary can spend that money on her son and grandchildren.
She’s already prepping for their first meal together.
“He wants mom to fix it,” she said. “I got to go buy steaks, corn on the cob and stuff. I'm going to cook for him.”
The big reunion in Omaha is right around the corner, and what a special homecoming it will be.
“I cannot believe there is somebody out there that took the time, listened and then did something about it and did something positive about it,” Mary said.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Mary Walker will do and pay just about anything to get to her son.
“I will pay for the rest of my days, every last dime I got to be able to be there and see my son come home from doing the unselfish thing for this country, protecting people he don't even know,” she said.
Mary's son is a life-long military man, a retired member of the 82nd airborne and national guard.
The 9/11 attacks happened, and he joined the Air Force.
“26 years later, he's where he is now, protecting his country, his family, his home, his babies,” Mary said.
He’s wrapping up an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan, and Mary wants to be there he returns in Omaha, Nebraska.
She recently learned her son's homecoming would be delayed by a week.
Instead of trying to change the flight through Travelocity, she and her cousin turned to the airline for help.
Cousin Mary King said she was told they couldn’t move her date without charging them for a whole other ticket.
Desperate to see her son, Mary coughed up an extra $500 for a second ticket, again through Travelocity.
“She's got two round trip tickets, and she's one traveler,” her cousin said.
Here’s the problem.
Mary didn't purchase her airfare through American Airlines.
She used an online travel agency, so she should have gone to them for help, rather than the airline.
The In Your Corner bottom line:
- When you use an online travel agency, it can make it more difficult to change your flight reservation because you’re dealing with a middle man.
- We got busy alerting Travelocity and American Airlines about Mary's quandary.
A Travelocity spokesperson tells us in general they are constrained by the rules the airline has on the class of ticket that was purchased but are digging into the background of the issue and connecting with the airline to try to come up with a fair solution.
An American Airlines spokesperson also telling the In Your Corner team they are committed to helping the military mom resolve the matter and get to her son.
We're confident this one will get sorted out soon. We'll keep you posted.
If you need to change or cancel your flight, some third party travel agencies will add a charge of their own on top the fee you pay the airline.
Take your time and really educate yourself before pulling the trigger on your travel arrangements.