Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Mistakes happen.

Sometimes, even big ones.

Some might struggle, though, on hearing of 80-year-old Maria Laros's problem trying to get from El Salvador to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

She's partially blind and doesn't speak much English, so her family made sure she'd get special assistance.

Sadly, it appears not to have been special enough.

Somehow, she was given the wrong boarding pass.

"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," her daughter-in-law Nikki Paradis told WRAL-TV

And so she flew to Denver, Colorado. Around 1,678 miles from Raleigh.

I asked United what had happened.

"We deeply apologize to Ms. Larios and to her family for this experience. When she arrived in Denver, she was placed on the next flight to Raleigh and we issued a refund and a travel certificate.  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," said an airline spokeswoman.

But it's happened before.

Which is a lot more than 1,678 miles out of the way.

As for how the airline reacted when it realized its mistake, Paradis said: "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."

Oh. Ah.

Published on: Mar 1, 2018