An American Airlines passenger who is a wheelchair user allegedly had to spend the night alone in an airport after her flight was canceled and she wasn’t transported to a hotel.
According to CBS Chicago, Olimpia Warsaw, 67, had traveled to Chicago for her ex-husband’s funeral, and on her way back home to Detroit, she was assigned a porter to assist her with luggage and transportation through the airport.
“I walked with her all the way to her gate,” her son, Claude Coltea, who flew out separately, told the outlet. “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.’”
However, Coltea says that her flight was canceled and they offered her a hotel room, but didn’t offer to take her there and she was unable to find her own transportation to a hotel because she has trouble communicating. According to the outlet, Warsaw has Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and struggles to walk.
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Coltea claims the porter who was assigned to help her said his shift was over, so he left her at the airport.
After Warsaw didn’t arrive in Detroit as scheduled, her family began calling American Airlines, and security was able to help her family locate her hours later—still in her wheelchair wearing the clothes she was wearing for the funeral.
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“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?’” Coltea said. “Not one person did that.”
According to CBS Chicago, after the publication of the story, the airline apologized to the family and launched an investigation into the porter, who is not an employee of American Airlines.
A spokesperson for American Airlines tells PEOPLE in a statement they are “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 says. “We have launched an investigation with our Chicago team and the vendor we utilize that provides wheelchair services at O’Hare. While this investigation is still underway, we are already developing a process with our vendor to ensure this does not happen again.”
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“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 representative added. “American has also refunded the ticket.”
The spokesperson tells PEOPLE, Warsaw was given a hotel voucher, but they are looking into why she was not transported to the hotel, as their policy is to bring passengers to the shuttle for transport in the event that their flight is cancelled.
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