NEWARK, NJ - A family is fuming mad after a Southwest Airlines employee parked a wheelchair-using grandmother for 11 hours at an airport, having apparently forgotten her.
Alice Vaticano, 85, told a Denver TV station that one of her daughters took her to New Jersey's Newark Airport, where a Southwest skycap promised to wheel her directly to her gate.
Instead, she ended up in a corner, missing her flight and several others.
"She pushed me there and left me," Vaticano told KCNC-TV in Denver. "I was just sitting all day in a wheelchair."
Meanwhile, her daughter in Denver, who was due to meet her at the airport, was shocked when her mother did not emerge from the plane.
"Where was she?" Donna Vaticano told the TV station on Tuesday. "What happened to her? These are people's jobs. Who is supposed to be paying attention?"
The elder Vaticano, who suffers from diabetes, said she thought "I would sit in Newark forever." The skycap "pushed me there and left me," she added.
Officials at Southwest Airlines were eventually alerted after Donna Vaticano complained and put the elderly woman on another flight.
"I want answers. What the heck happened?" she told the station.
Southwest says a "processing error" at check-in did not alert employees at the gate to her special need, which is her use of a wheelchair. The airline gave her two $200 in travel vouchers.