CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
A group of students on a field trip to China is stranded, and their parents are concerned.
The group of around 12 students from the Elite Scholars Academy was part of a 25-student, five-chaperone trip to Shanghai.
“Tuesday when they went to get on the flight, and what we heard was, the flight was canceled,” Ora Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s 15-year-old daughter, Yujay, is one of the students stuck in China.
The students and their chaperones reportedly went back to the airport the next day. Only some of the students and chaperones could get on the flight, and Yujay Kennedy was not one of them.
“By 2 a.m. she called me crying, ‘Mommy, mommy.’ I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ (She said), ‘We didn’t get on the flight again,’” Ora Kennedy said.
The mother said her child, a few other students and one chaperone are still in Shanghai, and the chaperone is quickly maxing out his credit card paying for extra hotel nights and food.
Ora Kennedy said school officials have been giving her semi-regular updates, but she wants to know why some of the chaperones left.
She said Air Canada wanted the students to pay a $250 rebooking fee to leave. Ora Kennedy said she sent her daughter credit card information in the hope that she could fly out of China on Friday.
“It’s not like I can get my car and drive and pick her up and bring her,” Ora Kennedy said.
Channel 2’s Richard Elliot contacted Air Canada. The airline said it is looking into the situation.
In a statement, Air Canada said:
“This group booked their travel through an agency to fly Atlanta-Toronto-Beijing and that they intended to return Shanghai-Toronto-Atlanta. However, when they arrived at the airport in Shanghai on May 24 for the return flight they realized that the agency had erred and actually booked them to leave from Beijing. They had no booking or tickets out of Shanghai.
“It was a challenge to accommodate an unexpected group such as this, but we did rebook them on the first available flights and we reissued their tickets. For us, the effect of this situation is that we lost potential bookings and revenue from other customers on their originally scheduled Beijing-Toronto return flight because those seats were reserved for but not used by the group.
“Recognizing the situation, we waived the normal additional fee for a last minute booking, which can be substantial, but we did charge them a regular change fee of $250.”
A school spokesperson told Elliot they are working to get answers.