Airlines Face Backlash Over Mishandling of Wheelchairs, Advocates Push for Change

Airline employees were seen mishandling a customer’s wheelchair, prompting outrage online. 

Viral Video Puts Spotlight on American Airlines

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In a viral video circulating on social media, American Airlines employees can be seen pushing a wheelchair down a steep ramp with a gate at the bottom. When the chair reaches the end of the ramp, it crashes into the gate. It bounces over, forcefully tumbling across the ground.

Wheelchair Users Say This Happens All the Time

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According to American Airlines, they are investigating the incident. But many wheelchair users who travel frequently say this is not an isolated event.

Disabled Blogger Talks Experience

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Cory Lee, a frequent traveler who blogs about his experiences traveling as a disabled person, said these kinds of equipment-damaging actions happen all the time. He has had to spend money on wheelchair repairs more than once due to airline negligence.

Flying Is “The Part That I Dread the Most”

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“It’s the part that I dread the most out of anything. I’ve had so many terrible experiences on planes and in airports being transferred out of my wheelchair,” Cory said. 

Lee Says Airline Employees Have Dropped Him

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He also said that he has physically been dropped by airline employees when they have assisted him in moving between his chair and airplane seat. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not allow wheelchairs or scooters to be used in airplane cabins. 

United Airlines Sued Over Incident With Wheelchair User

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Earlier this year, United Airlines settled a lawsuit with the family of a disabled man who experienced a coma after being “aggressively” pushed in his wheelchair by an airline employee. 

Airline Shells Out

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The airline paid $30 million after being sued for failure to “abide by the standard of care owed to disabled passengers.”

Disabled Woman Almost Misses Her Own Wedding Due to Airline Negligence

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In July, Stephanie Groce flew from Washington to San Diego for her wedding, and during her trip, airline employees dropped and “severely damaged” her power wheelchair. She had to change her trip plans to make a stop back home and get her backup chair.

“I’m Extremely Lucky”

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“I’m extremely lucky to have two wheelchairs,” Groce said. “When this happens, most people only have one wheelchair. You’re effectively downed until this gets resolved.”

Advocates Push for Change

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Advocacy groups like All Wheels Up are pushing for accessibility changes in the air travel industry. They hope to encourage airlines to install spots for wheelchairs to safely travel in planes so that disabled people can have more independence when they travel.

Frequent Traveler Says Flying in Wheelchair Is His “Dream”

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Cory Lee said that would fulfill his “ultimate dream:” to have the ability to fly in his wheelchair without needing to be transferred to an airplane seat. 

Law Prohibits Airlines From Discriminating Against Disabled Passengers

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The Department of Transportation says that – per the Air Carrier Access Act – airlines are not allowed to “discriminate against passengers because of their disability.”

Airlines Have to Assist Where Needed, Says Dot

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It also stipulates that airlines assist disabled passengers in several ways, “including wheelchair or other guided assistance to board, deplane, or connect to another flight; seating accommodation assistance that meets passengers’ disability-related needs; and assistance with the loading and stowing of assistive devices.”

American Airlines Investigating Viral Video

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American Airlines responded after the video went viral, saying that they are looking into what happened.

“This Visual Is Deeply Disturbing”

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“This visual is deeply disturbing, and we are gathering more details so that we can address them with our team,” said the airline. 

Thousands of Wheelchairs Damaged Each Year by Airlines

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The Department of Transportation said that year alone, the top ten airlines in the United States reported damages or total losses of over 11,000 wheelchairs and scooters. 

The post Airlines Face Backlash Over Mishandling of Wheelchairs, Advocates Push for Change first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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