United Airlines Flies 80-Year-Old Woman 1,400 Miles In The Wrong Direction

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United Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport on July 8, 2015 in San Francisco. No less than 53 animals died on United Airlines flights from January 2012 to February 2017. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An elderly woman ended up over 1,400 miles away from her destination after she managed to board a United Airlines flight for which she had no boarding pass.

Maria Larios, 80, was supposed to be flying from El Salvador to Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. However, during a layover in Houston, she managed to board a plane that took her to Denver, WRAL reported.

Meanwhile, her confused family was waiting for her to arrive at Raleigh-Durham.

Larios was travelling to the U.S. to stay with daughter Nikki Paradis, who is due to undergo brain surgery. "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?" Paradis asked.

Larios's family had arranged special assistance for her from United, because she is elderly, partially blind and does not speak English.

"She cannot read or write even in her own language. 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 said.

Larios was eventually placed on another flight, reaching Raleigh-Durham at around midnight—six hours after she was originally scheduled to land.

Paradis said that her mother's boarding pass had been switched, meaning another woman was sent to Raleigh-Durham instead of Denver.

Paradis is most upset with how the airline has reacted to its mistake, explaining "they were treating me like they lost my luggage."

"They were like, 'Oh yeah. We made a mistake, and she was given the wrong boarding pass and so she's in Denver. But it's not a big deal. We've already got her on a flight to Raleigh, and we gave her a meal voucher,'" Paradis said.

United Airlines issued an apology to the family in a statement given to WRAL, which read, "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."

The airline issued a refund and a travel certificate as compensation for Larios's accidental journey.