United Flies Elderly, Partially Blind Woman to Wrong Destination

Mar 1, 2018

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A woman ended up on the wrong side of the country after boarding the incorrect flight on Tuesday.

Maria Larios boarded a United flight that took her to Denver (DEN) instead of her destination of Raleigh-Durham (RDU), where her family was waiting for her.

Larios, 80, was traveling from El Salvador to Raleigh-Durham but had a layover in Houston (IAH). Larios’ family had arranged special assistance for her travels because she is older, partly blind and doesn’t speak English.

When connecting in Houston, she mistakenly boarded a United flight that was bound for Denver (DEN). It’s a mystery as to how she was able to board that flight with a boarding pass for another destination.

“How is it possible that a woman got on a plane that she did not have a boarding pass for and is now in another state?” Larios’ daughter-in-law Mikki Paradis told WRAL.

Paradis said Larios was actually given a boarding pass for the Denver-bound flight, and someone else ended up with the ticket to Raleigh-Durham.

“She cannot read or write even in her own language,” Paradis said. “She can’t speak English at all. So when you hand her a boarding pass, she’s trusting that it’s the right boarding pass.”

Paradis was upset with United’s nonchalant attitude when handling the situation.

“You lost a person, and the whole time they were treating me like they lost my luggage,” Paradis said.

Larios was put on a flight from Denver to Raleigh around midnight, and United issued her a refund and travel voucher for the inconvenience.

A United spokesperson issued the following statement to TPG:

We deeply apologize to Ms. Larios and to her family for this experience. When she arrived in Denver, she was placed on the next flight to Raleigh, and we issued a refund and a travel certificate. Our customer care team is in contact with her family to ensure we make this right. We are also investigating this incident internally to better understand what happened so that we can prevent this from happening again.

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