The mother of a Parkland shooting victim finally received the break she sought from a charter plane operator that flew her to Florida and then handed her a $36,000 bill.
Linda Schulman's ordeal began after she learned her son, Marjory Stoneman Douglass geography teacher Scott Beigel, had been killed in the Feb. 14 shooting. She immediately tried to get a flight down to Parkland, but everything was booked.
"We took to our computers searching every airline that could get us to Florida from Islip, LaGuardia, JFK or Newark. Long story short, due to school having winter break and a major PGA golf tournament taking place in Florida, there were no available flights to be had," she wrote on Facebook.
Every airline she contacted told her there were no seats available for the urgent flight, so she booked a charter flight with Talon Air Inc.
"Even though I had never chartered a plane before, I knew it was going to be super expensive. It didn’t matter what the cost ~ I had to get to my son!" she wrote.
Soon after the flight, the grieving mother was hit with a crippling $36,458 bill for the flight down and then flying the empty plane back – a common practice for airline companies.
“I have no problem accepting that I have to pay for one way, even the fuel charge for the return flight,” Beigel’s mother wrote on Facebook. “Where is the compassion from Talon Air Inc.?”
Six weeks after Beigel was killed, Talon Air has responded and agreed to reimburse Schulman the cost of the one-way flight, $18,229.56, and donate the remaining $18,229 to the Scott J. Beigel Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships for children to attend summer camp.
“You have endured the greatest tragedy that no parent should have to confront,” company founder Adam Katz wrote in a letter to Schulman on Tuesday. “No parent should have to go through what you and so many other parents have endured. My heart goes out to each and every one who has suffered so much pain, anguish, and loss by virtue of this senseless act of violence. ... I apologize for how poorly Talon initially handled this tragic matter.”
Schulman said she has accepted the offer from Katz.
Before Talon Air responded, Schulman pointed out that JetBlue offered free flights to Florida for those affected by the Parkland shooting.