Another day, another complaint against United Airlines. This time, it accused a passenger of attempting to traffic his own daughter.
On March 1, Osvaldo Maciel was returning from Mexico to New York with his three-year-old child, but before he could get off the flight, he and his little one were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials and Port Authority agents, who escorted them out and began to question them.
Officials wanted to know about the little girl he was traveling with and even demanded that he provide her birth certificate. Maciel had a notarized letter from his wife granting him permission to take their daughter for a weeklong trip to Mexico.
“Our daughter began to cry over the scandal,” Maura Furfey, Maciel’s wife, wrote in an article for The Huffington Post.
Furfey, who was contacted by CBP on her way to the airport, was asked to verify the story.
According to her, CBP was notified of Maciel after a passenger told flight personnel that they believed the man had trafficked the girl.
“I was told that the accusation did not come from CBP, who was trained to identify such situations, but from a passenger on the same flight,” she wrote. “She claimed that my daughter’s fair skin did not resemble her Mexican father’s and suspected that he had kidnapped her. The passenger had no basis for this accusation.”
The woman, Maciel said, was drunk, smelling of alcohol when she boarded the flight and knocking back four more drinks while in air.
Maciel, however, is still most upset with United Airlines for believing the accusation. After complaining about the incident, he received an apology and a $100 travel coupon.
"It will not do anything because we will not travel again for this airline," Furfey wrote. "A simple review of passports or flight records could have clearly demonstrated that all was well in this situation and could have avoided all the drama and tension that was created."