Elderly couple wheeled onto wrong airplane at FLL

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - An airline accidentally sent an elderly South Florida couple to a destination they didn’t have planned on their itinerary.

The couple, George Nobel and Helen Wheeker, had tickets to fly back home to Michigan but ended up on a whole different kind of adventure.

“The man in the plane said, ‘Somehow you got on the wrong plane,'” Nobel said.

They were in South Florida, on vacation visiting relatives and were supposed to head home to Grand Rapids on Thursday.

Nobel said they were in wheelchairs, boarding their Allegiant Air flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, when the attendant pushed them onto the plane. “It seemed like we were being put in the right place, as far as we could tell,” he said.

The couple said that somehow they were wheeled onto a flight heading to Ogdensburg, New York. “You look out the window, you couldn’t really tell where you’re going,” Nobel said.

“The captain, or whoever it was, said, ‘Something terrible has happened,'” Wheeker said, “and I said, ‘Really?’ ‘You’re on the wrong plane. You’re in New York,’ and I laughed.”

When family members didn’t hear from the couple, they panicked. “It was very emotional,” said their son Jim Meyers. “We did the emotional roller coaster, so truly it was traumatic to us.”

Allegiant Air told the couple a computer glitch caused the mishap, but they said they don’t believe that and wondered how putting someone on the wrong plane has anything to do with technology.

“An employee went and got them, and at the same time, there was a glitch with the scanning device that they used to scan boarding passes,” said an Allegiant spokesperson. “There was obviously some human error there, as well. Obviously, we can’t apologize enough.”

Wheeker said waiting around was frustrating, but there was something on the flight that caught her eye. “It was a struggle because, very boring sitting in one spot with a couple crackers,” she said. “The pilot was drop-dead handsome, and I remember when I was young enough to be excited about that.”

The airline’s spokespersons said their flights were refunded, and they were sent to their intended destination.

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