Airline Apologizes After Repeatedly Mistreating Traveler In Wheelchair

Image courtesy of After the flight, the man's mother realized is wheelchair had been damaged.

After the flight, the man’s mother realized is wheelchair had been damaged.

A US Airways passenger with muscular dystrophy says he was dropped by crew members, had his shoe knocked off, was left in the aisle, and then twice left at the wrong gate. Now the airline’s new owners have some apologizing to do.

WAVY-TV reports that the problems came to light on Sunday when the young man texted his mother with a list of issues he encountered while flying with American-owned US Airways, including instances where employees abandoned him and mistreated his wheelchair.

The man claims the issues began during the boarding process for his first flight in Detroit when agents dropped him in his seat twice while trying to transfer him from his wheelchair and knock-off one of this shoes. He says the employees never put the shoe back on, and never adjusted his legs, instead leaving them sticking out into the aisle for the duration of the flight.

After landing in Philadelphia for a short layover, the man says agents left him at the wrong gate twice, causing him to miss his connecting flight.

Finally, upon arriving in Norfolk, the man’s mother noticed his wheelchair had been broken.

“I started crying. I was upset. Somebody’s supposed to be watching out for him,” she said. “Somebody’s supposed to be watching out for him. He can get hurt.”

When the passenger’s mother made a complaint to the airline regarding the issues, she received an auto-response saying it could take up to 30 days to investigate the claims.

That’s when WAVY’s 10 On Your Side investigative division stepped in, contacting the airline on the family’s behalf. Just hours later she received a phone call and an email from the airline apologizing for the problems.

“We failed to provide transport assistance, left you unattended and also did not return your wheelchair in the condition it was received. Please accept my sincere apology for our service failures and any discomfort or inconvenience this caused,” the email states.

American offered to provide a $150 voucher for future travel. But that’s a deal the family says they won’t be taking, as the original ticket cost nearly twice that amount and because the man simply never wants to fly with American again.

Airline admits workers ‘failed’ disabled passenger [WAVY-TV]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.