United Airlines is apologizing to yet another passenger, after a man said airline employees left his 77-year-old mother to her own devices after bumping her from her flight home to London.
According to WUSA-9, a Washington, D.C. man said he’d dropped his mother off at Ronald Reagan National Airport, where she was supposed to catch a flight to New Jersey before connecting to a London-bound flight.
His mother travels in a wheelchair and can be easily confused, he says, but he thought United would take care of her.
“They assist people in wheelchairs and get someone to wheel them through and basically take responsibility for that person until they arrive at their destination,” he told the news station, so he left the airport, trusting that United would make sure she got where she needed to go.
Cut to the wee hours of the morning, when the driver he hired to pick his mother up in London texted him to tell him she hadn’t arrived.
“I called the airline to make sure she was on the flight and they reassured me three or four times she was on that flight,” he said.
She wasn’t, however: After hours of phone calls, he says United told him that his mother had made it to Newark, but the airline had bumped her from her London flight. As for why, he’s not sure.
“Basically she was left at the gate for 12 hours. They offered her a hotel that was miles away,” he explained. “She had to get there on her own steam. There’s no way my mom could have pushed a wheelchair at her age, so she sat there. “
On Tuesday, United said it had apologized to the man and his mother.
“This never should have happened and we have spoken with our customer’s family to apologize,” the airline said in a statement to WUSA-9. “We are working with our team and our wheelchair assistance vendor at Newark to review what happened and to prevent this from happening again.”
In an additional statement to NJ.com, United added that it had offered the woman a hotel room and to take her there, but said that she had declined the offer of assistance.
The man says United called him Tuesday night to apologize, and offered his mother a $1,000 flight voucher.