An 83-year-old woman flying home to Tampa from New York was accidentally put on the wrong flight earlier this week, a mistake that sent her to Puerto Rico instead of back to Florida, according to the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. The switcheroo came on Monday, when the woman -– Elfriede Kuemmel –- was returning to Tampa on a US Airways flight. Kuemmel’s daughter, who was not traveling with her, had contacted the airline to request her mother be given a wheelchair and assistance reaching her flight.
Keummel successfully boarded her flight on New York, but the Times says “things went wrong in Philadelphia, where (she) was supposed to switch planes.” Keummel’s daughter tells the Times she thinks the Tampa and San Juan flights both departed from the same gate out of Philadelphia, and that the snafu occurred when her mother got in line for the wrong flight. “As much as they make you go through, I just don’t understand it,” daughter Vera tells the Times. “Not that she needed to be hand-held, but you’d think someone would take her under their wing. It’s just unbelievable.”
US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder confirmed the mistake to the Times, adding that the airline wasn’t sure why Keummel was able to board the San Juan flight despite having a boarding pass for the Tampa flight. “We are looking into what we could’ve done on our end to prevent that,” Wunder tells the paper. US Airways put Keummel up in a San Juan hotel for the night, then returned her to Tampa -– via Charlotte –- on Tuesday, all in first class.