85-year-old wheelchair user stranded at Orlando airport for 14 hours

  • Patti Pugh, 85, told local reporters that she was stuck at the airport for 14 hours after failing to get a wheelchair.
  • Her family struggled to get her on a flight on the same day, and her new one when she was heading to a different airport two hours away from her destination.
  • Bough is among the growing reports of wheelchair users who have been deserted by airport staff in recent weeks.

An elderly woman in a wheelchair has been nearly hospitalized after being stranded for more than 14 hours at the Orlando airport earlier this month.

Patti Pugh, 85, told Fox 35 in Orlando that Frontier Airlines staff failed to get her to her gate, after her granddaughter, who did not have a boarding pass, was denied entry to security to help her. After missing her 8:30 a.m. flight on Saturday, Bough remained unattended at Orlando International Airport and had a stress-induced panic attack.

“They took my blood pressure and wanted to take me to the hospital. And I said, ‘I think I’m really, really upset,'” Pugh told Fox 35.

“It was a bad, bad, bad, bad day today.”

Pugh and her family insisted on staying at the airport until she found another flight, which they said was difficult. After Frontier offered to put her on a Sunday flight, her family lobbied to put her on a Saturday evening flight.

Bough was eventually put on a flight later that evening, but it arrived at a different airport which was two hours away from the home of Bough’s wife, Susie Mages, who was taking her.

Maggies told Fox 35, “It turns out to be a complete nightmare. Now she’s sitting at the airport from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Then she flies to an airport two hours away from me. We won’t get in until 1 a.m.”

A TSA spokesperson told Fox 35 that it was up to the airline’s discretion to offer a “pass” to allow family members or health care providers without a boarding pass to assist wheelchair users.

According to Frontier’s website, travelers seeking additional assistance can choose to “Add Special Services” while booking their tickets to receive additional guidance.

A Frontier spokesperson told Insider that Bough’s initial reservation did not include a request for wheelchair assistance, noting that it was later added to her updated reservation when the airline was alerted of the need.

“Unfortunately, our service provider did not receive a wheelchair assistance request for Ms. Pugh,” the spokesperson said. “Requests must be submitted in advance. We regret this has disrupted travel. We have rebooked Mrs. Bough on a separate booking on request.”

Bough is among a growing number of wheelchair users who have reported being abandoned at the airport. Morgan Jones, a 34-year-old with fibromyalgia and lupus, who experienced a similar incident this month after a series of flight delays, told Insider’s Hana Toye that individuals who use wheelchairs are being “abandoned and forgotten” by airport staff.

“I’ve read about mothers with their babies stuck on the floor. I read about lost baggage and delays,” Jones told Insider, adding, “But no one talked about the vulnerable and the ADA passengers.”

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