ETX Marine's parents say airline employees ruined son's 'goodbye'
POSTED: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 6:15pm
UPDATED: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 2:32pm
Longview, Tx (KETK) — Two East Texas parents were trying to give their son, a Marine, a proper goodbye at the Gregg County Airport last weekend, but, they say airline employees made that impossible.
Christy and Willie Rawls, of Gilmer, were dropping their son, whose name they don't want to reveal, off at the Gregg County Airport last weekend. They say when they got to the check-in counter, nobody was there. After 30 minutes of waiting at the American Airlines counter, a "last call for boarding" announcement was made. The Rawls finally tracked down an employee and told her their son needed a boarding pass and his bag checked. Christy Rawls said the employee told them they were too late.
" I said look..he's in the military, we're just tryin to get him home so he can go back to work. She said well, I understand that..but that's not our problem, that's yalls problem."
At the last minute, the Rawls were finally able to get their son aboard the plane, back to his base in San Diego. However, the airline refused to check his bag.
The Rawls ended up paying $200 to ship their son's bag to California. It was a living nightmare, costly, and full of heartache. But they say the real cost: was not being able to say goodbye. A deployment to Kuwait now looms in the future of the 20-year-old. As marine parents, the Rawls say every minute spent together, is precious and every goodbye... invaluable.
"That's not the way I want to remember the last time I get to see him for however long it's gonna be..it's ridiculous."
Airport manager Roy Miller immediately contacted American Airlines when he heard about the situation. American Airlines says they are sorry for how their employees acted and it was the result of being understaffed from budget cuts.
The Rawls want to assure they were treated with respect by airport officials, the problems only came from airline employees.