Mom stranded in St. Louis after oxygen tank fails test by airline

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LAMBERT AIRPORT (KPLR) – A mother-daughter reunion turned into a nightmare at Lambert Airport, Wednesday.

The mother, Brenda Russell, 58, who is disabled, was on a plane to see her daughter in Orlando, FL, Wednesday morning.

She was still in St. Louis Wednesday night, after getting booted from the flight.

Russell has leukemia, diabetes, and heart issues.

This was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime, to spend three weeks with her daughter, Brittney Tamang, in Florida.

“I would go to the ends of the earth for my mom.  She’s been there for me my whole life,” Tamang told Fox 2.

She felt like she’d been there and back Wednesday.

Russell lives in tiny Harviell, Missouri, near Poplar Bluff.

She caught her Frontier flight at Lambert, was through the gate, in her seat, Orlando bound.

“She left me a voicemail saying, ‘Brittney, I’m so excited.  I’m on my plane.  Everything’s ok.

Don’t worry.  I’ll see you in a couple of hours’,” Tamang said.

Then a flight attendant approached Russell before takeoff.

“She said the pilot did not want to drive with me being connected to air.  So, she asked me to take off my air and turn the machine off.  I said, ok,” Russell said.

She was then booted from the flight and once off the plane Frontier staff tested the battery on her oxygen tank, she said.

Frontier policy requires it be charged to 150% of scheduled flight time, (enough for 3 hrs. in this case).  It was not.

From Orlando, her daughter battled with Frontier staff on the phone to arrange a new flight and just to get someone to push her in her wheelchair to the new gate, she said.  After initially being offered a connecting flight through Denver arriving Thursday, Frontier got her a direct flight with Southwest, Wednesday night.

“You built up someone’s hopes to let them get on the flight, there was no battery check, you built up their hopes.  You let her sit down.  She’s seated.  She’s comfortable. The person next to her said it was OK,” Tamang said.  “This was a gift from me to her so that we could make memories for a lifetime…you know there’s nothing that’s too much for your mom.  There wouldn’t be anything that’s too much for mom.”

Making things worse, her mother's medications were in her bags, which had arrived in Florida by early afternoon.

Russell boarded the Southwest flight around 7:30 Wednesday night.