A woman with dementia disappeared from the Chicago Airport. Her worried family later found out she had flown to Los Angeles on Southwest–all without a boarding pass. She was at the airport to fly to Birmingham with her daughter and disappeared after going into a toilet stall.
Her daughter is upset the airline didn’t do more to help. According to her, the airline insisted there was no way her mother could be on another flight.
But Bygrave is most upset the airline wouldn’t do more to look for her mother on other planes that had boarded near the gate where the flight to BHM was boarding. When she called the airline, “I told them we think my mom might be on a plane because she literally just disappeared and the agent or person on the phone said we can’t give you that information.”
Believe it or not, people getting on the wrong plane happens more than you’d expect.
Sometimes the scanning system is down and the gate agent checks off seat numbers manually. Some flyers who accidentally got on the wrong flight think the gate agent mistakened the “no” sound for the exit row seat warning. And gate agents sometimes just miss someone.
But usually, the extra person is discovered onboard when there are two people for the same seat. Or when they announce the destination. But occasionally someone does slip through.
Of course, the situation can get worse than merely one passenger ending up in the wrong place.
A Delta flight once landed at the wrong airport. So every passenger on the whole plane ended up in the wrong place.
In most situations, I blame this on someone being too distracted. But in this specific case, when someone has dementia and is missing in an airport, the airlines should do a quick seat check/count on each flight until she’s found.