DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – American Airlines refused to let a stage IV cancer patient board her plane home with her oxygen tank, then changed their minds Tuesday.
“I practically burst into tears then. And I’ve been crying off and on all day. Because I just want to go home. I told them – I just want to go home,” said Dawn Rotefer, who was visiting her family for Thanksgiving. “Might not ever get to see them again. So, that’s why I came down,” she said.
Rotefer, who suffers from ovarian cancer, said she didn’t have any trouble traveling with her oxygen tank to the metroplex.
“They let her fly down with the exact same tank and won’t let her get on the plane to go back with it,” said Rotefer’s sister Candy, who paid for her plane ticket from Milwaukee.
“We don’t have much time with her. So I wanted her to be down here,” said Candy.
Concerned about missing a chemotherapy session Thursday, Rotefer said she even offered to leave the tank behind. But the airline told her it was against their regulations for her to fly without it.
CBS 11 News called AA and asked about Rotefer’s situation. A spokesperson said the airlines should have never let her onboard with the oxygen tank since “it’s not FAA approved.”
The airline located an oxygen concentrator for Rotefer to use, paid for its rental and rebooked a flight for her Wednesday.
Grateful for the kindness of strangers, Rotefer is relieved.
“Thank God,” she said, new ticket in hand.
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