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Denied Travel with Children Without Parent's OK

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I was just told that two divorced mothers each travelling with one child was denied boarding their Flights to Cancun (on US Airways and American Airlines) from Charlotte, NC and National in VA. The airlines are requiring written documentation stating that the absent parents has given consent for the child to travel abroad. Has anyone else run into this problem when traveling to Cancun with a child? Just curious to see if this requirement is well known since the airlines didn't advise the Mom's of this requirement when tickets were purchased.

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