Home » Airline abandons 94 year woman in wheelchair after flight, offer $225 in compensation
An elderly woman was forced to scream and holler for help after being abandoned in a wheelchair at the airport after a flight from Cuba. The airline's compensation: a paltry $225. She's not happy about it either.

Airline abandons 94 year woman in wheelchair after flight, offer $225 in compensation

by Jeremy B

An elderly woman was forced to scream and holler for help after being abandoned in a wheelchair at the airport after a flight from Cuba. The airline’s compensation: a paltry $225. She’s not happy about it either.

94-year-old Rachele Jamieson, from Chilliwack British Columbia, was subjected to a horrific travel experience after her return flight from Cuba. Jamieson, who’d flown Sunwing Airlines, was completely forgotten by the airline after deplaning at her final destination in the Canadian airport of Vancouver. Then, after waiting more than a half-hour, the 94-year-old woman was finally remembered by the original airport employee who’d wheeled her off the plane the first time.

According to a report from the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, Jamieson normally uses a walker to get around, but like many elderly travelers decided to use a wheelchair during her time at the airport. After her vacation to Cuba, she returned home aboard her Sunwing Airlines flight which was several hours late. Upon arriving, she was deplaned in the chair and pushed off to the side, told that someone would be back for her.

As she watched the passengers stream by, she figured she wouldn’t have to wait long before the employee returned and wheeled her to meet her waiting friend. However, she was wrong. Soon it became apparent that they’d forgotten her when the crowd of passengers and staff left. By now it was around three in the morning. When the lights dimmed, Jamieson knew she was in trouble and had been forgotten.

Sadly, she was forced to scream for help and at one point considered pulling a fire alarm to perhaps get someone’s attention. And then, according to the Cranbook report, the tears came.

Finally, the employee who’d wheeled her off realized he’d forgotten and returned to get her, finally getting her through customs and to her awaiting friend. Adding insult to injury, Jamieson had apparently paid for an “elite seat” on her Sunwing flight but didn’t get one, causing some pain in her back.

After returning home, Jameison apparently has suffered from nightmares and confusion from the incident. After contacting her travel agent, she was informed that Sunwing would reimburse the $225 elite seat fee. However, Jamieson is holding out for more, noting in the Cranbook report that she paid over four thousand dollars for the trip.

She’s currently chosen not to sue Sunwing, on the advice of her nephew, because, WestJet recently announced they are purchasing Sunwing. Certainly, neither airline wants an incident like this as the backdrop to their recent acquisition announcement.

Editor’s note: this was updated to reflect the more accurate time the woman waited – which was around .5 hours, not 3.5 hours as originally published.

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Skaner March 13, 2022 - 5:05 pm

You should know better that these wheelchair services are contracted out and not performed by the airline itself. The headline should therefore say “Wheelchair service provider at YVR abandons …”

derek March 13, 2022 - 5:43 pm

There’s no report of the passenger having dementia. She should have just pulled the fire alarm and resisted arrest if the police confronted her. Likely, they would not do that. Either that or slowly steer her wheelchair to get to a telephone.

Nancy March 13, 2022 - 7:38 pm

I also use a wheelchair and would need special seating for my back. I wouldn’t hesitate to sue that airline for negligence. I can’t believe they forgot her for three and a half hours. I probably would have pulled that fire alarm in frustration!

Tony March 13, 2022 - 11:40 pm

im not here to victim blame but someone in their 90s should not be traveling solo. period.

Gayle March 14, 2022 - 7:14 am

Totally agree! That was stupid!

Rachel Turner March 14, 2022 - 1:46 pm

Oh so she isn’t entitled to travel because of her age??? That is just pathetic that you judgmental jerks have no compassion whatsoever.

Lynda MullenMadrone March 23, 2022 - 1:32 pm

Gee, I’d guess you to be in your 30’s. If she did not have dementia there is no reason she should not have flown by herself. And if you mean because she was in a w/c she should not fly by herself, then no handicapped w/c bound person should be allowed to fly by themselves. You do not give up your rights if you are either old or handicapped. Grow up!

Debbue. March 14, 2022 - 12:08 pm

What tgd hell does age have yo go with her travelling ?? She should sue the stupid airlines , for negligence. This is horrendous , the airline was
Negligent in not coming back for her Someone should be fired . Sue sue due , crdd as p yo your nephew

Jerry March 19, 2022 - 5:03 pm

I guess this is more common than I thought. The same thing happened in December here at the Phoenix airport with Delta…

Joyce April 3, 2022 - 7:03 pm

I had that happen in Feb. 2022 at Delta in Detroit. My daughter and I both in w c they left my daughter waiting by the tram took me on tram and at 1am left me up stairs alone after getting off tram to go get my daughter which they never got her. Lucky enough she could walk some so she got on the tram and found me upstairs waiting for Kim to bring her back. Which he never did. And let me tell you it was scary with no one around at that time.

Dawn Love April 8, 2022 - 11:50 am

This woman should absolutely sue the airline! Nephew has bad advice. What would he say if something had happened to her. Likely then he would encourage her to sue or the family would be in worst case scenario. People of any age handicapped or not, young or old should be able to travel just as anyone else would. The airlines escort children who fly alone, they should make accommodations for anyone who feels they might need a little extra assistance no matter their age, etc. Frankly anyone who has made it to 94 years of age in life, deserves extra care and possibly even a red carpet, just sayin… people need to stop treating the elderly as if they are a burden or disposable! Show some respect to your elders, for they have helped paved the way of the world for others who are here now. They should not be dropped off in a hallway to be forgotten.

Carsten April 10, 2022 - 9:10 am

She waited 30 min. That is not that long. Not after 94 years. All airlines are extremely generous when it comes to handing out wait times. They do not discriminate whatsoever in giving blocks of time to stand or sit and wait. No one is exempt.

Erika cuzzone April 11, 2022 - 6:48 am

She waited 5 hours that’s horrible..


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