Family angry after airline 'loses' elderly mother

Woman, 85, sat at a gate for 11 hours

(Sam Meyer/CNN)

A woman is upset after she says that Southwest Airlines failed to keep track of her 85-year-old mother, leaving her stranded in an airport for 11 hours.

Denver's CBS4 reports that Alice Vaticano, 85, was flying from Newark Liberty International Airport to visit her daughter in Denver when as miscommunication between Skycap, a service that assists special needs passengers like Vaticano to their gates, and the gate agents left the elderly woman sitting alone in a wheelchair for most of the day.

After being dropped off at the airport in Newark, Skycap promised to wheel Vaticano directly to her gate.

But somehow Vaticano got parked at the gate and forgotten.

"She pushed me there and left me," Vaticano told CBS4. "I was just sitting all day in a wheelchair."

She missed her flight, and when she didn't show up at the Denver International Airport at the scheduled time, Vaticano's daughter who was waiting for her in Denver grew increasingly concerned.

Vaticano, who suffers from diabetes, admitted to being confused, saying she didn't know where she was and that she wasn't given any food or water all day.

It was verified that Vaticano checked in for her flight in Newark two hours prior to her scheduled departure, but a processing error failed to alert gate agents that there was a person with a wheelchair in need of assistance with boarding the plane.

Once Southwest Airlines officials realized the mistake, they put Vaticano on a flight to Denver.

Southwest gave her two $100 vouchers for future travel.