American Airlines repeatedly mistakes 101-year-old woman for a baby

The US airline’s booking systems can’t compute the centenarian’s age

Natalie Wilson
Monday 29 April 2024 16:48 BST
American Airlines’ booking systems assumed a 1922 birthdate was 100 years later
American Airlines’ booking systems assumed a 1922 birthdate was 100 years later (Getty Images)

A 101-year-old woman has been repeatedly mistaken for a baby when travelling due to an error with an airline’s booking system.

Patricia, born in 1922, confused American Airlines’ booking system when entering her birth date, causing airline computers to assume she had been born in 2022.

This would make Patricia just a year old and has caused havoc with her travel plans in the past when the airline has expected a child and not made suitable transport accommodations inside airport terminals.

The former nurse told the BBC, who witnessed the glitch before a Chicago flight to Marquette, Michigan: “It was funny that they thought I was only a little child and I’m an old lady!”

Travelling with her daughter Kris, the pair had purchased two adult seats for the domestic flight.

“My daughter made the reservation online for the ticket and the computer at the airport thought my birth date was 2022 and not 1922,” she added.

It isn’t the first time the centenarian has encountered the issue when flying with American Airlines to visit family, much to the confusion of the “helpful” cabin crew when “the same thing happened last year”.

On one occasion, the 101-year-old was kept waiting for a wheelchair to deplane as airport staff had not arranged mobility assistance for her to travel through the terminal.

The BBC reported that Patricia travelled solo until she was 97 years old and started having eyesight troubles.

She would like to see the IT problems resolved before her next flight this autumn to make the travel experience easier for her daughter.

“I would like them to fix the computer as my poor daughter had to carry all our luggage and apparel almost a mile from one gate to the other,” Patricia said.

The Independent has contacted American Airlines for comment.

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