Alaska Airlines must pay $3 million to family of elderly woman who died at airport

Alaska Airlines must pay millions to the family of an elderly Hawaii woman who died following a fall at an airport in Portland, Oregon — and after the company failed to escort her off the plane as the family requested.

A judge ordered the Seattle-based airline to pay more than $3 million on Monday to the family of 75-year-old Bernice Kekona, who died after falling down an escalator in 2017 while she was in her wheelchair at Portland International Airport, KHON2 reported. 

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Kekona landed in Portland after visiting family in Maui. Upon her arrival, she endured head, chest and leg injuries resulting in an infection that ultimately led to her death. The initial incident was also caught on video.

(A judge ordered Alaska Airlines to pay more than $3 million on Monday to the family of a woman who fell at the airport. (iStock))

While the family reportedly confirmed five times that Kekona, who required a wheelchair, would be given gate-to-gate transportation, the woman was left to transport herself upon arrival, resulting in her tragic fall, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. The woman’s family sued Alaska Airlines and an airport contractor for not looking after Kekona as they had arranged. 

Alaska Airlines said in a statement to KHON2 it was “disappointed in the ruling” and is “evaluating next steps.”

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“There is no more important responsibility than the safety and wellbeing of our guests, whether they’re in our care or the care of a vendor,” the airline said in a statement.

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