Home Lifestyle Travel American Airlines traveler left behind in wheelchair at O’Hare: report

American Airlines traveler left behind in wheelchair at O’Hare: report

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An American Airlines traveler in a wheelchair was left stranded for hours at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after her flight was canceled and the porter assigned to assist her left her alone once his shift ended, multiple news sources have reported.

According to CBS Chicago, 67-year-old Olympia Warsaw was left behind at O’Hare after her flight to Detroit was canceled and the porter assigned to watch her left at the end of his shift. Warsaw, who lives in Detroit, was in Chicago to attend the funeral of her ex-husband.

The local CBS affiliate reported that Warsaw has Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes, which means that she has difficulties communicating and must use a wheelchair.

Read more: American Airlines will soon allow passengers with peanut allergies to board flights early

Warsaw’s son, Claude Coltea, told CBS he walked her to the gate and confirmed with the agent that the flight was on time and that the airline would take care of his mother.

“She said, ‘Yup, all’s fine. We’ll take good care of your mom,'” he said.

Once the flight was canceled, the airline reportedly offered Warsaw a hotel room voucher, but because Warsaw has trouble communicating, she couldn’t call anyone for transportation. Once the porter left her at the end of his shift, Warsaw had to ask a random passenger to help her use the bathroom, her son Julian Coltea told CBS Chicago.

It was only after Warsaw did not arrive in Detroit that her family reportedly called the airport and the airline to track her down. She was eventually located hours later by O’Hare airport security in the wheelchair and the same clothes she had worn to the funeral.

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for American Airlines said, “The American Airlines team is deeply concerned about what occurred Friday evening at Chicago O’Hare. This is not the level of service we aspire to provide to our customers, and we apologize to Ms. Warsaw and her family for letting them down.”

The spokesperson added that the airline had launched an investigation with its Chicago team and the vendor it utilizes for wheelchair serves at O’Hare, and that it is “developing a process with our vendor to ensure this does not happen again.”

The airline told Business Insider it has refunded Warsaw’s ticket, adding: “Our customer relations team has spoken with the family multiple times, and other team members met with the family in Chicago and Detroit on Saturday.”

The special assistance page on American Airlines’ website states that coordinators are available for travelers upon request and that American Airlines also has a disability team that travelers can call.

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