- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

A World War II veteran, 90, en route from Los Angeles to a Pearl Harbor ceremony in Hawaii, was booted from his flight so the airline could add some more fuel without violating weight limits.

Ewalt “Walt” Shatz, who shot down a Japanese plane during the attack on America in 1941, was supposed to fly direct on United Airlines to Honolulu. But airline attendants said they had to reschedule him and re-booked him on a different flight leaving eight hours later, that also included a layover, Fox News reported.

“I was surprised,” Mr. Shatz said, to Hawaii News Now. “I didn’t know which way to go. Here I am at LAX with all these people, and it’s all new to me. I was just lost, I didn’t know what to do, which is an awful feeling.”

Mr. Shatz, who has macular degeneration, a medical condition affecting the eyes and vision, was traveling alone.

“They just kind of left me stranded,” he said, Fox News reported. “Here I’m 90 years old, and I don’t know. I really didn’t have anybody else I could call.”

He ultimately arrived in time for the ceremony. But his story spread online, and social media posters were outraged, Fox News reported. Those in the area saw his plight, and started a quick rally call to meet him at the ceremony.

“Getting ready to put my khakis on and go greet a WWII vet (Pearl Harbor Survivor). … If you are on island and would like to come greet and honor this hero, come on out,” said Navy Chief Benjamin Scott, on his Facebook page, the Hawaii newspaper reported.

The airline, for its part, said in a statement reported by Fox News: “Inclement weather in the path of United flight 1226 required the flight to carry additional fuel and, as a result, reduce the number of passengers on board by 41.”