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Monday 3 December 2018

Airline leaves disabled woman in wheelchair overnight

American Airlines (AA) seem to have serious problems with customer service.

In the latest episode, a disabled 67-year-old woman was allegedly left in a wheelchair overnight at Chicago O’Hare International Airport after her American Airlines flight to Detroit was cancelled.

Olimpia Warsaw had flown into Chicago to attend a relative’s funeral. After the service, Warsaw was to catch a flight back home, her son Claude Coltea told media outlets.

Warsaw has trouble communicating and walking due to Parkinson’s and diabetes. Coltea said he took his mother up to her flight gate and spoke to the agent there to confirm his mother would be taken care of.

“I walked with [my mom] all the way to her gate,” he said. “I confirmed with the gate agent that the flight was on time. Everything was OK. She said, ‘Yup, all’s fine. We’ll take good care of your mom’.”

Instead, the flight was cancelled and an airport porter assigned by the airline offered Warsaw a hotel room for the night. They would not take her to the hotel, however, and, due to her trouble communicating, she could not locate transportation.

The porter then reportedly left her at the airport after his shift ended.

Why Coltea left his mother before the flight departed was not explained.

After Warsaw did not arrive in Detroit, her family began calling American Airlines and the airport to track her down. Hours later, security found her still in the wheelchair and same clothes she had been wearing the previous day.

American Airlines said in a statement that they have launched an investigation into the matter.

Nonetheless, the incident should ring warning bells for anyone with elderly relatives travelling by plane in the US.

The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act requires that US airlines must provide free wheelchair service to patrons who request it, even without any documentation stating that it is necessary.

This being the US, however, there are an increasing number of able-bodied flyers who have scammed airlines into providing wheelchairs to save time in long security lines.

After passing through security and being given priority boarding they undergo a miraculous recovery.

Keep an eye for these amazing travellers - and report them.


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