Thursday Apr 10 2008
Airline bankruptcies ground local Boy Scouts
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Parents left scrambling for tickets
The double whammy of Hawaii-bound airline closures has left local Boy Scout families scrambling. It stinks, said disappointed Scout John Lewis. A number of Boy Scouts from Troop 12 in Loomis have been planning a June backpacking trip to Kauai for two years. Many of them now stand ticketless for their travel after ATA and Aloha Airlines recently closed down services. Some Scout parents had even planned family vacations to Hawaii around the boys' backpacking trip. The Baker family of Loomis has two Scouts, Sam, 13, and Ben, 15, going on the Kauai trip. Their father, Nathan, is the Scoutmaster of Troop 12. They paid for six airline tickets for the entire family on ATA, which just cancelled their flights and announced their Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Taking the Boy Scout motto of Be Prepared to heart, the Bakers had purchased trip insurance for the family vacation, but discovered it isn't easy to file a claim. After learning of ATA's closure, Ann Baker, Nathan's wife, said she immediately contacted the insurer only to discover that she would have to exhaust all other reimbursement avenues before coming to them. That would include letters of denial from her credit card company. The Bakers' credit card company will issue them a temporary credit on their account, while they investigate the claim. But Ann Baker, has been scrambling to rebook the air travel and discovered that it will cost an additional $1,000 for the family of six to fly on another airlines. Tracy Lewis of Loomis, who works in the office at Franklin Elementary School, was distressed when she learned her fifteen-year-old son's ATA ticket, which cost $520, was worthless. John, 15, had sold popcorn and takes care of the family livestock to help pay for his trip. His father has contacted American Express to seek reimbursement for the cancelled flight and hopes to be able to rebook with another airlines. A dozen Scouts, plus family members, are scheduled to go on the trip. At least two families booked their airfare on Hawaiian Airlines and are unaffected by the cancellations. Nathan Baker said all the affected families are seeking assistance from their credit card companies for reimbursement and will have to try and rebook and pay the now-higher airfare. Baker is not looking for sympathy for the group, but rather considers it a life lesson. We'll figure it out and move on, he said. ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 2, then announced it was ceasing all services, while Aloha Airlines ceased passenger operations on March 31 after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.