There was absolutely NO CALL WHATSOEVER for this.
United forced a 94 year old woman to sit in cattle class, knowing she was in extreme joint pain and had bought a business class seat to have more room.
You read that right. She was not asking to be upgraded. She had a business class ticket in hand.
I have a feeling she will soon have more than enough money to buy all the pain meds she’ll need.
Australian Paz Orquiza, then 94 was returning from what will likely be her last-ever visit to family in Los Angeles on February 2 when her troubles began.
Orquiza’s family had booked her a $3,596.24 business class ticket so she could fly in comfort. Her daughter, Rose Benedicto, was to fly in economy, and help out with feeding and chair adjustments.
But when they got on the plane, staff said Benedicto wouldn’t be allowed to leave economy to help – and staff wouldn’t help either, her granddaughter said.
In her Facebook post, granddaughter Marianne Santos Aguilar says that the family had no problems with Orquiza’s flight from Melbourne, Australia, to LA,
There, the crew made ‘every effort’ to ensure a comfortable flight, she said, and Benedicto was allowed to help out Orquiza with tasks such as opening food and reclining seats.
But on the return flight, staff were far less helpful.
The flight attendant, ‘without any sympathy or compassion,’ told Benedicto that she could either take Orquiza to economy class, buy a business-class ticket for another flight or leave the elderly woman to suffer.
And so the 94-year-old – who spends most of her days bedbound – was moved to the more cramped economy class.
‘My aunt tried to comfort my grandmother, who was in tears, and was horrified to see how much pain she had to endure during this flight,’ Aguilar wrote.
‘Upon arrival to Australia, my grandma’s legs had swollen, she suffered from a stiff neck and her whole body ached.’
‘She was in great distress and pain from this ordeal. She was prescribed stronger pain medication and Valium to help with sleep.
‘Our family is heartbroken that this painful plane ride back to Melbourne will be the last memory of our trip for my grandma, and this has ruined an otherwise incredible family reunion,’ she added.
Orquiza, who turned 95 on February 28, suffered pains for a week after the flight, she said.
But speaking to DailyMail.com on Thursday, Aguilar said she is now in good health.
However, she said, the elderly woman ‘does not like to be in the spotlight’ and so being moved in front of other passengers ‘may be something that will stay with her forever.’
She added: ‘My grandma is a strong woman and for her be in tears on that flight upsets the whole family.’
Aguilar also said that the airline had offered to refund $860 of the $3,600 ticket, and had given the family $500 in airline credit that they do not intend to use.
She said United told her the refund was a ‘fare adjustment to reflect the cabin change’ – but said that the numbers did not appear to add up.
The family has still not received the refund, two-and-a-half months after the incident, she said. They received an email two days ago saying it would take several more weeks.
United Airlines has been contacted for comment.
Aguilar’s remarks are part of flurry of bad press that has struck United in the wake of Sunday’s violent ejection of Dr David Dao from a United plane after he was told to leave because it was overbooked.