TULSA, Okla. — A group of recent high school graduates left for the trip of their dreams early Wednesday morning, but they never made it, after what their airline calls a fraudulent purchase.
The graduating seniors from Oklahoma Union High School left Coffeyville for Springfield, Missouri early Wednesday morning, headed to Orlando. When they got to the airport to catch their flight, they found out some students didn't have actual tickets.
This group of Oklahoma Union High School graduates and sponsors spent the last year raising money for the trip of a lifetime.
“The purpose of the trip was to go to Universal Studios and Disney World,” Shaudna Anderson, mother of one of the graduates on the trip said.
The group was supposed to fly out of Springfield, Missouri Wednesday morning at 10:30, but those plans changed last night.
“The kiddos got a call last night that their flight had been canceled,” Anderson said.
Determined to still make the trip happen, Anderson said they tried to figure out another plan. That's when she said they got another call, this time, telling them the flight was back on schedule.
“When they took out this morning, they thought that they had a flight, you know, available for them and when they got there, that’s when they found out it was no longer available,” Monica Richardson, mother of another graduate on the trip said.
When they dug a little deeper, they found out what had actually happened.
“They thought they had booked through Allegiant Air, just to discover that it was someone posing as Allegiant Air,” Anderson said.
A lot of work and sacrifice these mothers said has been taken away from their kids.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s heartbreaking – you kind of go out with your senior year, with a bang, with a group of kiddos that you’ve spent the last 13 years with and they’re all like family to have it all…just gone, taken from you,” Anderson said.
Although the students were not able to catch the flight to Orlando, they're making the most out of their experience in Missouri, where they have visited the aquarium, The Bass Pro Shop, and are planning to go to other local tourist attractions.
2 News Oklahoma reached out to Allegiant Air and they provided the following statement:
"Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, it appears the group has been the victim of fraud perpetrated by a third party outside of Allegiant.
Bad actors advertising fraudulent call-in numbers and websites, posing as legitimate travel services, or even representing themselves as airlines, are common in the industry. Unfortunately, these scams grew throughout the pandemic.
If someone in the group used a credit card for their transaction, the best course of action is to follow up with the bank associated with it. Representatives there can take a fraud report and help recover lost funds. We are very sorry that this happened to the group and will be glad to assist with any investigation.
We hope you will use this incident as reason to remind your viewers to always verify they are calling their airline directly. One simple way to do so is to visit their official website for customer contact information.
Please let your viewers know that Allegiant doesn’t partner with third parties such as Expedia, Travelocity, or any other travel-related website or call center. Customers can only book with us on Allegiant.com [scanmail.trustwave.com] or by calling our customer service department at 702-505-8888."
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