American Airlines Launches Investigation After Passenger in Wheelchair Left Overnight at Airport

December 3, 2018 Updated: December 4, 2018

American Airlines said it’s investigating after a woman in a wheelchair was left in an airport overnight following a canceled flight.

Olimpia Warsaw, 67, was attending a relative’s funeral in Chicago and was scheduled to fly back to Detroit on Nov. 30.

Claude Coltea said that he walked his mother Warsaw, who has Parkinson’s and diabetes, to the gate.

“I walked with her all the way to her gate,” he told CBS. “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.'”

But after he left, the flight was canceled. The airline assigned a porter to Warsaw and offered her a hotel room but workers said they couldn’t transport her to the hotel and she couldn’t arrange her own transportation because she has trouble communicating.

The porter then said that his shift was over and left the woman alone.

“She actually had to find a random passenger to help her out just to go to the bathroom because the porters had already left for the night,” Julian Coltea said.

After she didn’t arrive in Detroit, family members started calling American and security at the airport finally tracked her down. Images show her alone in her wheelchair at the airport.

“All we wanted was someone to pause and say ‘you know what, can we just make sure this human being is safe and then we can all go home,” Claude Coltea said. “Not one person did that.”

An American Airlines plane on the tarmac in a file photo. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

Investigation Launched

American struggled to explain what went wrong but said it had launched an investigation.

“We are very concerned about this, and have launched an investigation with our Chicago team and the vendor we utilize that provides wheelchair services at Chicago O’Hare,” American told Fox News.

“We have spoken with the family multiple times, and met with them both in Chicago and Detroit yesterday. Our team has already refunded back the fare for this trip.”

Part of the probe is looking at why Warsaw was offered a hotel voucher but not offered transportation to the hotel.

Warsaw’s family noted that the ordeal came after the airline lost Warsaw’s luggage, forcing her to miss part of a funeral to purchase proper clothes.

Fight Forces Plane to Turn Around

The Nov. 30 incident came days after an American flight from Chicago to Toronto turned back while in the air.

A couple’s fight prompted the pilot to land back at Chicago.

The flight took off at 5:06 p.m. but landed back at O’Hare International at 5:44 p.m. on Nov. 28.

The original flight was severely delayed by the disruption and didn’t depart again for Toronto until 9:16 p.m. The plane eventually landed in Toronto and she got home at 1:30 a.m., instead of the original schedule of getting in at 5 p.m.

From NTD News

Recommended