Elderly woman on wheelchair who was dropped at wrong gate forced to buy new $450 ticket after missing flight
Brian Moorhead says his mother, who suffers from eyesight problems, was flying Norwegian Airlines from Orlando International Airport to London when the incident occurred
An airline has apologized after an 82-year-old wheelchair-bound woman missed her flight after she was taken to the wrong gate before being made to pay for a new ticket.
Brian Moorhead said his mother, who suffers from eyesight problems, was flying Norwegian Airlines from Orlando International Airport to London this past July when the incident occurred, according to Fox News.
Moorhead said he brought her to the airport three hours before her flight but was stopped when he tried to wheel her to the gate and had to leave her in the care of a worker.
Hours later, he got a call saying she missed her flight.
"She's tough and she was in tears, crying," he revealed. "She was taken to the wrong gate, saying the flight left without her."
She was reportedly mistakenly wheeled to Gate 96 instead of Gate 94, and by the time anyone realized the mistake, it was already too late.
Moorhead admitted this was a "genuine mistake," but was baffled when he was told he would have to once again shell out $449 so his mother could board another flight.
He subsequently filed a complaint with the airliner but got nowhere.
"They kept saying she didn’t show up," he said. "I said, 'I have a boarding pass. I’m sitting here looking at it and you have her case. You have her luggage checked in.'"
But things quickly turned in his favor when he took the story to local news outlets.
Less than a day after the news aired, Norwegian Airlines had issued an apology and began processing a refund.
They said that they outsource the ground handling services, including check-in and boarding, to other companies, and that an altogether different company handled wheelchair assistance.
They said Moorhead had been charged for the new ticket because of a "miscommunication of events and inaccurate information."
In a statement, Anders Lindstrom, Director of Communications for North America, said, "Norwegian sincerely apologizes for this situation, which should never have happened. While Norwegian Air is the operating airline, we contract certain services at Orlando International Airport. One ground handler is responsible for check-in and boarding agents, while another company handles services such as wheelchair assistance."
"In this case, based on the information we have received, there seems to have been miscommunication as to what happened to Ms. Moorhead, who should not have been left by herself," it continued. "She should, of course, have been given proper attention and care until she boarded, which is when Norwegian Air cabin crew would be responsible for her well-being until she arrived in London."
"Due to this miscommunication of events, Mr. Moorhead was unfortunately charged for a new ticket the following night, which should also not have happened, and Norwegian apologies for this. A refund has been issued."