A 74-year-old special needs passenger suffering from Alzheimer’s was reportedly left behind and forgotten for hours following a last minute gate change at Boston Logan Airport.
When a 74-year-old early-stage Alzheimer’s patient did not arrive at Fort Meyers Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) on her JetBlue flight from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) on Tuesday, her family members were understandably upset. When the family learned that their disabled loved one was simply left unattended at a gate in Boston, concern quickly turned to outrage.
“When I found out I immediately called off work and said, ‘I’m headed to see my mom,’” daughter Judy Davis told Boston CBS affiliate WBZ-TV. “My sister is expecting her to land at 2:30 in Fort Myers and she’s not there. Obviously someone in a wheelchair is sitting close to the desk when it’s time to board. Since she was there real early, no one is noticing someone is sitting here for three hours.”
Carmen Courchesne was supposed to be returning home to Florida after visiting her grandchildren in the Boston area; instead, her family says that the airline and her wheelchair assistant simply lost track of the elderly flyer. The flight reportedly had a gate change, but no one thought to bring the special needs passenger to the new departure gate -leaving Courchesne to sit unattended until she failed to arrive in Florida where family members were waiting for her.
“We regret Ms. Courchesne’s experience, and are conducting a comprehensive review of the events with our business partners,” the airline told the television station in a statement.
According to JetBlue officials, once employees became aware that the wheelchair passenger was not on her flight, she was taken to a hotel room where she could rest. Managers also made sure to escort her to the next flight home the following day.
This isn’t the first time that JetBlue has been publicly shamed for dropping the ball when it comes to getting its most vulnerable passengers safely to their destinations. In 2016, the airline faced international headlines and lawsuits after agents inadvertently flew two unaccompanied minors home to the wrong parents after confusing which young child was headed to John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and which one was traveling to BOS on flights from Cibao International Airport (STI) in the Dominican Republic.