American Airlines has debunked a family’s claim that a 67-year-old woman was left in a wheelchair overnight at Chicago O’Hare International Airport after her flight was canceled.
The airline released a detailed timeline Tuesday to The Post based on surveillance footage and call records that shows that “approximately 45 minutes elapsed between the time a wheelchair attendant left and someone came to pick up” wheelchair-bound Olimpia Warsaw.
Warsaw had reportedly flown into Illinois to attend her ex-husband’s funeral. After the service, she was supposed to catch a flight back home to Michigan on Friday.
The woman’s son, Claude Coltea, had told CBS Chicago that he took his mother to the flight gate and spoke to an agent there to confirm his mom would be taken care of before he caught his own flight home to Connecticut.
After the cancellation of Warsaw’s flight, Coltea claimed that the airport porter assigned to his mother by the airline offered Warsaw a hotel room, but that she was not taken there and she could not find transportation.
Warsaw’s family said that when the woman did not arrive in Detroit, they called American Airlines to track her down and that she was ultimately found hours later in the same clothes she had been wearing the previous day.
According to American Airlines, Warsaw’s flight was canceled at 11:20 p.m. CT on Friday and rebooked for 8:55 a.m. CT the next morning.
At 11:32 p.m., a wheelchair attendant picked up Warsaw at the gate and a hotel voucher and meal voucher were given to the woman, the airline said.
At 12:06 a.m., the wheelchair attendant is seen on CCTV “assisting Ms. Warsaw in the public area of the terminal near the wheelchair waiting area.”
According to the airline, citing call logs, the attendant then calls Coltea two times. One call lasted six minutes and the other call lasted two minutes.
At 12:30 a.m., the attendant drops Warsaw off at the upper level of the wheelchair waiting area and moments later she uses her walker to go outside to smoke a cigarette for seven minutes, the airline said.
American Airlines said that at 1 a.m., Coltea called the airline and rebooked his mother for the 1:40 p.m. flight on Monday.
“He then said someone was en route to the airport to pick her up,” the airline said.
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At 1:13 a.m., a male and female relative arrive at the airport in an SUV, according to the airline.
The female relative then meets Warsaw at the wheelchair waiting area at 1:46 a.m. and begins pushing her toward the door where the car is parked.
Two minutes later, the relative stops and takes a picture of Warsaw sitting in the wheelchair, and then leaves the woman there and walks to a TSA checkpoint, American Airlines said.
The relative then comes back to Warsaw and is met by a police officer, whom the relative “has a very short conversation with.”
“She then pushes Ms. Warsaw outside to the waiting vehicle and they both get inside. The male relative exits the vehicle when they arrive and puts the walker in the rear of the SUV,” the airline said.
By 1:53 a.m., “all parties involved leave the area in the SUV.”
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