American Eagle gate agent accused of charging second fictitious fee

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 9, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 10 at 7:25 PM

DALLAS - An American Eagle gate agent arrested this week after charging a passenger a fictitious change fee and then pocketing the money is also accused of doing the same thing to another traveler, News 8 has learned.

Frankie Lee Walton, Jr., 38, already faces a theft by deception charge filed on Tuesday. In that case, Walton is accused of charging a Hilary Dahl, 20-year-old college student from California, a $120 change fee on May 10.

But D/FW Airport Police also revealed that Walton is accused of charging a second passenger a $50 fictitious change fee on May 31.

The second incident at D/FW Airport was not reported to police but rather handled internally at American Eagle, the report stated. The second passenger, Hyejin Kim, made a written statement to American Eagle about what happened.

The commuter airline suspended Walton. It's uncertain how long Walton has worked for American Eagle.

"We have no patience whatsoever for this type of activity," said Tim Smith, an American Eagle spokesman. "We began this investigation and brought police in to take further action, if necessary." 

"We have tens of thousands of hardworking employees at American Airlines and American Eagle and this is an insult to them," he added.

D/FW Airport Police arrested Walton this week after Dahl filed a report. Her flight landed late on May 10, causing the young woman to miss her connecting flight at D/FW Airport. Dahl said when she asked Walton to get on another flight he said it would cost her an additional fee.

"So, I asked him how much that would be," Dahl said according to the police report. "He said, 'Hmm, about $120.' Then he said, 'We don't have a machine here that takes cards so do you have cash?' He pointed to the ATM machine across the terminal near a restaurant."

Dahl said she withdrew $200 and gave Walton $120.

"He put the money into a manila envelope, which he then put in his pocket," Dahl said according to the police report. "He gave me the tickets and I quickly realized that he never gave me a copy of my receipt and everything was very unprofessional."

American Eagle does not charge fees when a passenger has to change flights because of a missed connection by the airline.

American Eagle reimbursed Dahl for the $120, the police report added.

A woman who answered the phone at Walton's home said he was not available. The message for him was not immediately returned.

E-mail: jwhitely@wfaa.com

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