Airline apologizes for reportedly leaving wheelchair-bound elderly woman at the wrong gate, charging her extra for replacement ticket
An airline is apologizing after reports surfaced that an 82-year-old woman confined to a wheelchair missed her flight after she was reportedly taken to the wrong gate and forced to pay for a new ticket.
Norwegian Airlines has reportedly processed a refund and has launched an investigation into the incident. The passenger, who reportedly also has eyesight problems, was flying from Orlando International Airport to London when the incident allegedly occurred.
Brian Moorhead claims that he was forced to pay an additional $449 after his mother missed her flight in July, Fox 35 reports. According to him, he took her to the airport about three hours before her flight. He told the news outlet that he wasn’t allowed to wheel his mother to the gate and she was left in the care of a worker.
He says that his mother was mistakenly taken to Gate 96 instead of Gate 94 and nobody realized the mistake until too late.
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Moorhead described this as a “genuine mistake” to Fox 35. He was less understanding about what came next, however.
After being forced to pay for a replacement ticket, Moorhead filed a complaint. According to him, “They kept saying she didn’t show up, she didn’t show up. 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.'”
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Norwegian’s initial response was reportedly dated July 24. Moorhead claims he didn’t hear anything back from the airline until he took his story to local news outlets in early August. Less than a day after the story ran, Norwegian reportedly issued an apology and began processing a refund.
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Norwegian Air told Fox News that while Ms. Moorhead was ticketed for a Norwegian Air flight, they outsource the ground handling services (including check-in and boarding). They also stated that another company handles wheelchair assistance. They stated that Moorhead was charged for the new ticket because of a "miscommunication of events and inaccurate information."
Anders Lindstrom, Director of Communications for North America, provided Fox News with the following statement: "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. 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.”