Steve Homen, like any traveler, wasn’t happy when American Airlines canceled the return leg home of his flight. However, the reason why this happened was so bizarre and disturbing that it raises some questions on safety and security by Homen.
Homen booked a roundtrip flight from LAX to San Jose this past weekend. He flew from Los Angeles to San Jose on Friday but soon after received notification from American Airlines stating his return flight was canceled.
“They tell me ‘It’s canceled because you never flew on the original flight.’ I said ‘I sure did. I have it on camera and everything,'” Homen told Eyewitness News.
Homen is six-foot-three, so he’s not a traveler that you’d easily miss.
“No trace whatsoever,” Homen said. “I can tell you that I had one cream and one sugar with my coffee, but they don’t have any trace of me whatsoever.”
Homen shared a video he took onboard the flight while he was taking off and landing, and the flight attendants even did a passenger count. He also had a confirmation email and used the American Airlines app to check in during boarding.
“When I scanned it, I watched it turn green and he let me on the plane,” he said.
Even with all the evidence he had, American Airlines insisted wasn’t on the flight and canceled the remaining leg of his trip, causing Homen to book a $200 flight home. Airlines have been cracking down on travelers these days who miss any leg of their flights, highlighted by the recent court case that came to light of Lufthansa suing a traveler who missed a leg of their flight to travel hack and save hundreds.
Homen is less concerned about the additional expense and inconvenience of having to buy a ticket home and more concerned with the safety and risks associated with this incident. He wants to know how American didn’t know he was on the flight, and if that was the case, why they allowed someone they didn’t know to board the plane.
“Anyone could have been on that flight,” he said. “What if I had a medical emergency? They clearly said they had no record of me on that flight whatsoever.”
An American Airlines spokesman told Eyewitness News they have no record of Homen on the flight and that a mix-up is “extremely rare.” He also claimed that, regardless, there was no security issue since every passenger must pass through TSA screening.
American Airlines cancels passenger’s return flight because he ‘never flew on the original flight’ – except he did, and he has it on camera. https://t.co/UqGu7gLBUgpic.twitter.com/DZjnjucjwe
News stories like those of travelers getting through TSA with a gun in their bag or through security checkpoints with documents that aren’t their own prove that even TSA and security officers make mistakes occasionally. So the question remains, was this just a random, rare mistake or do airlines not always know who is getting on their flights and is this a security risk travelers should be concerned with?
While that question may not be answered, American is at least refunding Homen for the $200 he had to pay for a new flight home.
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