American Airlines is responding to growing online chatter that it is flying migrant children, already separated from their families, to other cities.
In a statement emailed to KTVU early Wednesday morning, American said: "The family separation process that has been widely publicized is not at all aligned with the values of American Airlines -- we bring families together, not apart. American, like many U.S. airlines, provides travel to the federal government through contracts; however, the government does not disclose information about the nature of the flights it takes or the passengers who are traveling. While we have carried refugees for non-profits and the government, many of whom are being reunited with family or friends, we have no knowledge that the federal government has used American to transport children who have been separated from their parents due to the recent immigration policy, but we would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case.
"We have therefore requested the federal government to immediately refrain from using American for the purpose of transporting children who have been separated from their families due to the current immigration policy. We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it. We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so."
The response comes after online social media reports that American Airlines flight attendants witnessed young children, all dressed similarly, and without any adults, on overnight flights to other cities.
Victoria Cook of New York, for example, posted on Facebook on June 15 that her friend's co-worker, who is a flight attendant, saw 16 children all dressed in cheap Walmart sweat suits boarding the plan with scared eyes.
Some are questioning whether the account is even true.
For example, readers said some things don't add up. One of the biggest: the flight times. The flight attendant reportedly said the flight departed at 12:30 a.m. and the children got off in Miami at 2:30 a.m.