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American Airlines claims story of passenger abandoned in wheelchair overnight is false, according to investigation

The family of a 67-year-old wheelchair-bound woman who alleges she was abandoned in the airport overnight on Friday after her American Airlines flight from Chicago to Detroit was canceled might have some explaining to do. ( More...

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Let's try to understand why everyone who reacted to fake news is now trying to focus on something other than the facts. This is why we have a major issue with truth in this country. Somebody tweets something, it gfoes viral and the truth which modifies the the original story is barely noticed.
Richard Orgill 12
I laughed at the relative...upon arrival he took a photo...yeah we know where that was going
Highflyer1950 20
Just another scam artist trying to get something for free and I’ll bet the family was in on it?
linbb 16
Had plenty of get up and go to smoke which required her using a walker. So she isn't that disabled if that was the case just used the wheel chair as an easier way to get around.

Scam any way they can and costs other passengers money.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Lee Withers 4
Torsten Hoff 7
At least here in California, abuse of handicapped placards is rampant. People with no reason to have or use such placards are causing problems for those who actually DO need them. Self-centered drivers too lazy to park in a regular spot will take the few handicapped spots near entrances and elevators.

It's a pretty common scam, people get placards under the guise of needing to assist a handicapped relative, and then they use them even when grandma isn't around.

And then there were the nine UCLA football players who abused the system...
Highflyer1950 4
If you are incapacitated I’ll bet you’re not flying? If you are disabled then yes, you can avail yourself of all the amenities available? However, if you’re just using a wheelchair to ride around in and your son apparently isn’t worried about leaving you alone it kind of says “ I can look after myself”. You can’t go to the washroom by yourself but you can stand up and go outside for a smoke...idiotic!
BYW, typing all in capitals is really annoying!
Tommy Boy 2
So is putting question marks at the end of statements. Like, you don't even know what constitutes a question. Very annoying.
djames225 -2
Her son didn't leave her alone thou..he left her in the care of American Airlines and their gate agents.

[This poster has been suspended.]

djames225 1
I beg to differ..they are when they have been informed a passenger, who wants some freedoms but has a disease such as Parkinson's. Certain attributes of Parkinson's allows mobility to a point but makes it tiring to walk long distance. Care of the gate agents does not constitute a babysitter per say..just in case keep an eye out, which most gate agents do.
Highflyer1950 8
She was by herself, then she was alone. Were there hundreds of people around her, yes, it’s an airline terminal. The point is,if you require assistance to travel then you take a companion, you don’t try to game the system and then get to cry foul! Unacompanied minors, now that’s a different set of rules and forms to be signed.
Jesse Carroll -4
People like you that waste time worrying over NOTHING is annoying!
joel wiley 2
If you are using a windows-based machine, try <CTRL> + to increase the font.
That will make it EASIER TO READ.
As a private pilot, do you find difficulty in reading adversely affect your flying competency?
You're welcome.
Lee Withers 0
Point of information! You don't have to be a pilot nor selfrightous to read and enjoy Flight Aware.
Tommy Boy 1
But it helps if you are! Ha! That's funny!
joel wiley 1
Quite true. They are among a long list of things you do not have to have in order to read and enjoy FlightAware.
Another point of information: on this and many other boards, writing in all caps is considered shouting in most cases. Shouting is considered poor netiquette.
As for my comment to J. Carroll, the poster self identifies as holding a private pilot certificate. I expressed concern that his self identified 'POOR VISION' might adversely affect flight safety.
But we are wandering away from the topic of this thread.
Lee Withers 1
True, I only entered an initial post in defense of Handicap things. I know the system is terribly abused. I know people who have them and truly benefit from them, and I know people who do not have one but should.
joel wiley 1
My wife needed and had one the last 6 years of her life. I understand the need, and the frustration with the abuse. Anyone who would benefit should apply.
Pedro Thomson 0
Please no caps
djames225 -2
So she used a walker to go have a smoke?..if she has Parkinson's disease, yea a wheelchair does make it easier to get around larger distances!
djames225 -2
So she used a walker to go have a smoke...if she has Parkinsons, then yea..the wheelchair does make it easier to get around.
lynx318 5
Family scam trying to get a refund on the canceled flight and/or overreaction. 45 minutes, stuck in my wheelchair in clinic waiting rooms for two hours, this is nothing.
craigbell1941 2
She didn't ask for anything.
Thomas Cain 1
...but one or more in her family did, They made a fraudulent claim of AA leaving the disabled woman at the airport alone all night when it was only 45 minutes, and received a refund from AA in return. That makes it a crime. Now they should have just stick to the actual truth that it was only 45 minutes, which is still unacceptable as the AA spokes person said, and they probably still would have gotten the refund. Also since she was left alone, if the Family member didn't come, she may have ended up there over night anyway.
this is an odd story and someone (seemingly the passenger and her family) are not telling the truth..if the woman was able to use a walker to go outside for a smoke,or even to the restroom,she was not disabled to the point of needing someone to watch her or stay with her,and the claim of being left alone overnight is truly beyond belief!
jagerardi 9
Funny how the media reports that a woman WAS left overnight, but the proof that it's a lie is only a "claim."

Oh- and the old bag was well enough to walk outside by herself for a cigarette, but not to take care of herself otherwise?

This whole story is a crock.

AWAAlum 2
"the old bag" ?
Dan Grelinger 0
Don't trust the media. Full of fake news. Not that they make it up all the time, but are too lax to check out the facts before putting up the 'click-bait' headlines and raking in the dough when people fall for it.
craigbell1941 3
The Media does not MAKE UP stories, maybe editorials but not news stories.
Dan Grelinger 3
What? Headline: "American Airlines passenger left in wheelchair overnight after flight home was cancelled",

Then the same 'news' organization publishes a story that says she was not. (Linked above).

Only one of these articles from yahoo can be true. Which means one is false. False, not being true, is "Made Up."
Wilbur Wright -1
At the time that byline was written, AA was 'looking into it', so all there was to go on besides that was the story being told by the family.

I'm not saying Yahoo gets a pulitzer for this, but you're complaining about something that a responsible adult should understand by now - stories change as new things are learned.

At any rate, here's their nut graf. The statements are qualified as just that - statements from the family. That's it.

> A 67-year-old woman who has trouble walking *was reportedly* left in a wheelchair overnight after her flight from Chicago to Detroit was cancelled on Friday.

> *Olimpia Warsaw’s son Claude Coltea* told CBS Chicago that she had flown to Chicago to attend her ex-husband’s funeral. On the way there, her luggage was lost. On the way back, she was abandoned in the airport.

There's a lot of debate to be had about "the media", but this ain't that, kind internet stranger.
Dan Grelinger 4
Your ignoring that the headline says it did happen. Not that it was alleged to have happened. If it did NOT happen, then fake news.
Wilbur Wright 0
The headline is not the article. I'd go so far as to say including the words "alleged" or "reported" in the headline would've been better, but again, we're talking about Yahoo here, not exactly Pulitzer material. What you're describing above is sloppy journalism, but to call it "fake news" is a stretch.

Your average news consumer should be reading the story and viewing it as coming from the source described in the article. They often don't, and take it all as God's Honest Truth. That's a whole separate issue I don't intend to wade into, but you know what I'm saying.
Dan Grelinger 2
"Your average news consumer should be reading the story"... That is what Yahoo wants! The headline is click-bait. DON'T CLICK ON THE BAIT! Irresponsible journalism is 'fake news' designed to incite and gain clicks, not to convey the truth.
lynx318 0
Too true, online news from such as Yahoo, Bing/Microsoft and Google are the modern tabloid trash magazines, the type that plastered headlines such as 'MY MOTHER WAS AN ALIEN!' or 'FINAL PROOF OF THE LOCH NESS MONSTER', utter trash.
Tommy Boy 1
I don't find that to be an accurate assessment of legitimate on-line news sources. Maybe for some that report from the fringes of reality - and we know those that I'm speaking of.
Dan Grelinger 1
Non-subscription based on-line news sources have but one purpose... Make money off of clicks. What gets clicks? Not the truth. There is no incentive to provide that.
Gary Bain 2
The hell they do't. Happens all the time. Report put out before the facts are known which happens daily.
Wilbur Wright 0
Care to point me to where "the media" reported it as "fact" as you're implying and didn't use the correct qualifying statement of "Olimpia Warsaw's family claims" or that "Warsaw herself claims"? Because right now I think you're carelessly spouting off so you can go on a rant about "the media".
Ron Dagostino 5
Thanks for technology. This has allowed AA to see the truth, from camera footage.
They deserve a statement from the lady AND her family for making such a false claim!
She had a smoke break? She looks like the type to make it a story like this.
lynx318 3
I'm type 1 diabetic and in a wheelchair, I'm disgusted in her smoking, even more dangerous for a diabetic than healthy person.
Gil Gerretsen 2
What! People lie ... or don’t take the time to get the whole story before getting offended? Tell it’s not so!!
I am so glad you got to the bottom of this. I fly American every year to Florida. I am 81 and that is my biggest fear my flight will be canceled and I will be stuck in Charlotte overnight.I have seen how people with disabilities are taken care of by the airlines and just couldn't believe this. I am NOT wheelchair bound so no one would even look after me.
WhiteKnight77 3
This is a classic case of not remembering that there are cameras everywhere. That the family tried to pull a fast one shows that they forgot about the cameras.
Hugh Somsen 2
Extortion Scam?
TWA55 2
Pack your bags and leave your brains at home.
She can speak can't she. Having been with various airlines over the years and dealing w/ the handicapped as passengers, I have never seen a person just left who may be in some state where hand holding was required, help boarding yes, help at ticket counter yes, and family or someone just dropping off grandma or mom or whatever and leaving NO. One thing you learn about people and airports, most are in la la land. Sorry, but facts are facts
Mark Weiser 2
I work in the Buffalo Airport, kind of a small quiet airport, and some of the stunts people try is amazing, I sort of wish I had that sort of "who cares about consequences" approach to life. Hopefully someone puts her thru the stress and difficulty the AA employees went thru explaining that " didn't happen that way...."
craigbell1941 1
The Media is GUILTLESS, they only report the facts that are known at the time. If you wait 2 days to tell the story it becomes irrelevant.
Gary Bain -1
....and they often get the FACTS completely wrong.
Again,the poor woman is made the subject of scorn because she is DISABLED and not yet incapacitated.Have you ,criticizers,ever walked thru an entire terminal,thru TSA and then had to stand /or otherwise wait at the gate when suffering the effects of Parkinsons',severe arthritis or other debilitating infirmeties/injuries (Sometimes all three at the same time)which probably causes pain and/or confusion, especially when confronted with unexpected situation and circumstance.I don't wish it on any of you ! she had her walker at hand doesn't that mean anything..she wasn't looking for a free ride .The walk from the drop-off to the nearest departure gate at KMCO is just short of 3,500 feet !!
WhiteKnight77 1
Apparently you didn't read the updated article to see that cameras shows family members picking her up about an hour after she was left near the door.
about "an hour after she was left near the door" was after 1:00 am,4 1/2 hours after ( she thought) she was safely on the plane !Stop focusing on every one/thing else and put yourself in the shoes of the woman.Look up Parkinsons' disease !
djames225 0
Where is this updated article?..If you are referring to this 1 posted, all I see is a lot of he said/they said. I am not saying this lady did not make up this story, but at the same time where is the dang proof of either side of it? You think an airline wouldn't conjure up stuff to save it's own ass.
Everywhere else in today's society, I see folks demanding physical proof of things before calling out, yet in this article it appears, from the posts I see, that the old gal is guilty as sin and American Airlines can do no wrong. BTW, since both Chicago airports are public entity, not privately owned, video evidence can be provided to lawyers after going through editing to mask out those not involved.
WhiteKnight77 1
I am talking about the one posted to start this all. The call logs and cameras showed that she was attended to from the time she was dropped off to board the plane by her son until the wheelchair attendent left her upstairs at around 12:30 AM. Here is the relevant portion of the article:

According to American Airlines’ timelines, at 8:31 p.m. Central Time, Warsaw is seen checking into American Airlines Flight 3155 to Detroit and checking two bags. At 9:42 p.m. she boards the flight, but at 11:14 p.m the airplane returns to the gate due to a maintenance issue. At 11:21 p.m. the flight is canceled, and a minute later Warsaw is rebooked for an early flight the next morning.

A wheelchair attendant picks up Warsaw at 11:32 p.m., according to the timeline, and is seen again on video attending to the passenger at 12:06 a.m. Then at 12:10 a.m., the attendant places a call to Coltea’s cell phone, and is on the phone for six minutes, according to the airline’s call log. He is told a relative is on the way to pick up the passenger. At 12:30 p.m. the attendant wheels Warsaw to the upper level and leaves her there, as described in the previous account. Warsaw is seen using her own walker to exit the airport at 12:32 a.m. for a smoke break, returning seven minutes later.

According to call logs, Coltea contacted American Airlines’ reservations line at 1:00 a.m. to rebook his mother’s flight, changing it to a 1:40 p.m. flight — possibly so his mother could get some sleep. At 1:13 a.m., a man and a woman — relatives of Warsaw — are seen arriving in an SUV. The woman finally meets with Warsaw, according to what’s captured on camera, at 1:46 a.m. The relative is then seen taking a picture of Warsaw in her wheelchair before walking to a TSA checkpoint. After a brief interaction with an officer, she is seen wheeling Warsaw out to a waiting SUV, where the man helps both women in. The vehicle drives off at 1:53 a.m.

She was alone for a bit more than 60 minutes, including 7 where she actually went outside on her own, to smoke a cigarette. This is the corrected part of the story that people appear to be ignoring. Her own kin was at the airport to pick her up 40 minutes after she was wheeled upstairs and a half hour after she came inside from a smoke. If she was so worried about her health and needs, she would have stayed in her chair. She didn't.
djames225 0
I am done saying anything about this article..most everyone here takes the whole article at it's word, so I am backing out..getting negative votes for reserving judgement on something is not worth the aggrevation. I never said she was not guilty, but I myself am waiting till a full investigation is done to pass judgement.
jmilleratp -1
The story is false...the passenger was left on the floor. ;-)
joel wiley 0
If "overnight" means she went to the airport before midnight, and left the airport after midnight, the yes, she was there overnight. By abandoned, is someone implying the woman was not competent to take care of herself? According to logs reporting in the story, the flight returned to the gate at 11:14 and her family met up with her at 1:46 - 2 1/2 hours.
Lots of aircraft remain overnight (RON) The two 'overnights' are not the same.

Is the family making the case that she needed supervision? Mobility issues do not equate to incompetence.
Mike McGraw 0
Does anyone believe they would admit the report to be true and accurate?
Dan Grelinger 1
Yes, if it was. Does anyone believe that common people will lie for attention or monetary gain?
djames225 -2
I myself am reserving judgement on this 1..why won't American release the video for us to all see? Maybe she is a scammer, and looking for notoriety, the thing is I see no where she is sueing. Her son did not leave her alone according to both the airline and son. Perhaps she does have limited mobility, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. All I see right now is a she claimed/they claimed.
If it turns out she is pulling the wool over folks eyes, yes punish her to fullest extent possible. But if American is trying to cover up a botched operation, likewise.
wx1996 4
Respecting the rights of all the other people in the video. I think in IL unless they get a signed release or edit the video to mask other people they cannot release it to the press for public consumption.

Leaving a passenger alone in the airport is not illegal. An adult sitting and waiting at an airport for a family member to pick them up is normal.
djames225 -2
So we are to believe that American did no wrong whatsoever and chastise the lady? Leaving a passenger alone in the airport may not be illegal in some places, but if those in charge were informed of her mental and physical condition (Parkinson's), it sure as hell is illegal in others.
Accordingly, it seems most other posters have the lady "guilty until proven innocent", but like I said, I myself am reserving judgement. Maybe she is a scammer, but if that were the case, why didn't we see "Ill lady's family sues American Airlines"?
Highflyer1950 4
They can’t sue now as the cat is out of the bag! Video proof is a formidable weapon against deception. I do feel for her if all that is wrong with her is factual, and if it is, the son must be pretty clueless! You’d be surprised at the number of families that just drop off their so called loved ones at the terminal and ask the airline to take responsibility, as if a $99 ticket should come with a personal attendant?
Gary Bain 2
Too early for a lawsuit and what American reported is most likely correct.
Why are you all beating up os abandoned,regardless of any timeline! Imagine the anxiety after spending several hours,motionless on the tarmac,and then told "Flight cancelled" but ..."Don't worry someone will be coming to get you..." and then your lifeline had to leave because their shift was ended.those "45 Minutes" must have seemed interminable and frightening . She went for a smoke ???? Its amazing she didn't need a bottle of Zananx....I have personal knowledge of how Parkinsons affects mind and body.....Shame on you for blaming her....what the media choses (and how) to publish and what her relatives have said has nothing to do with her.Remember,as far as relatives were concerned she was "Safely aboard a flight before 10:00 and not notified other wise until after 12:00am.What can they assume from this ??


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