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Flight canceled, soldier spends thousands coming home for Christmas

DETROIT – A Michigan soldier who had not seen his family for a year, tried to bring Monroe home for the holidays – but ended up on the flight he had booked, thousands of dollars with United Airlines was unexpected called off.

Pfc. Benjamin Jimenez, 21, joined the army in June 2017 and was stationed in Germany in February. Hoping to spend time with his family, including his grandfather, who is scheduled to fly from Florida to Michigan, Jimenez booked a round-trip ticket for $ 1,116 on November 19, which would take him to Detroit Metro Airport, Frankfurt on time to report to the service in 2019.

When he arrived at Frankfurt Airport on Saturday, Jimenez was told that his flight had been canceled, according to his aunt Sarah Mundt, 31

, also from Monroe. She said the airline also told her nephew that a refund was not available for the first flight and that he would have to face the charges through his bank.

"They told him that … he had no more flights and if he wanted to go to the United States, he had to buy a one-way ticket for $ 2,500," Mundt said.

"And he did."

Added to the financial burden The airline has since told the family that the cheapest flight that Jimenez could bring back to Germany before the end of his vacation was $ 3,000.

"(United) literally had us on the phone for two hours," Mundt said. "They kept saying that they were trying to help us, but … I was on hold for 30 minutes while they said they were busy with things."

Mundt said that her nephew did not have access to email or phone while in the field, but the family is firmly convinced that the cancellation notification was never sent. She added that they worked through his inbox together.

Mundt said that they have been informed that United Airlines are Lufthansa's airline partners for German flights, and Lufthansa has decided to raise their fares and cancel the flight.

"In the end, they said," Well, we sent the e-mail … we can not do anything for you. We have no more money, so we can not return it, "she said.

Mundt said they plan to work with Jimenez Bank to face the charges, but have not had time yet – her nephew was not there yet She arrived home late Saturday night and said that the airline should meet the cost of the original ticket.

"I made it very clear, I do not want anything for free. I understand that this is a business. You have to earn money. I pay It does not matter to pay the original fare he originally bought … but we want to refund the $ 2,500 and we need a way to get back to Germany, "she said. I talked to two separate superiors I talked to a manager and I talked to her online social media team … who said the reservation team had the situation checked, "she said.

You give just the same old answers … I feel like they've made it worse. "

Mundt said her family spend the holidays searching Jimenez for a return flight and putting their money together to buy him another plane ticket with another airline.

"At the moment, the only flights available on Jan. 2 are making the whole situation worse because my Daddy He is very old and sick and he flies away from Florida to spend a day with (Jimenez) before flying back to Germany, "said Mundt.

"My dad flies on the 1st … Now they will not be able to spend time together as they were."

Madhu Unnikrishnan, a spokesman for United Airlines, confirmed on Sunday that the flight was from Lufthansa Unnikrishnan said he could not speak as Jimenez may not have received notification.

"Our customer service team is reviewing the matter and will be in with Mr. Jimenez shortly Connect to arrange his return trip (to Germany), "Unnikrishnan said.

Mundt said her family is extremely frustrated and would like to avoid contacting United Airlines in the future."

"The timing could not be worse, since it's Christmas," she said. "We're glad that (Jimenez) could come home, but … instead of having Christmas and just enjoying everything, we're now trying to put our money together to try to make sure he gets it." back to Germany, so he does not get into trouble. It somehow influenced everything.


This article was written by By Aleanna Siacon of Detroit Free Press and was legally licensed through the Tribune content agency via the NewsCred publishing network. Please address all licensing questions to [email protected]

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