DETROIT -

Karen Smith was all set to return home to metro Detroit from a Caribbean vacation with her husband and three sons. She had her e-boarding pass and was waiting at the airport gate when U.S. Air employees told her she'd need a new "flight coupon."

Smith left her family at the gate and went to get this new document, although neither her husband nor her kids were instructed to get a coupon. Forty-five minutes later the plane took off while Smith was still waiting for the airline to print the document.

While her family made it home as scheduled, Smith was stranded in the Dominican Republic. She said she spent about $1,500 for a hotel room and another flight home the next day.

U.S. Air blamed Delta, who handled the family's flight down, for the snafu and hasn't reimbursed Smith for the extra cost caused by missing the flight. However, at least one travel agent is calling shenanigans on the entire situation.

"They don't print coupons because everything is paperless," said travel agent David Fishman. "So what was printed? What's the coupon?"

U.S. Air said it takes up to 30 days to fully process a customer complaint.

More than getting her money back, Smith said she's like to make sure this never happens to anyone else.