Delta Wasn't Ready When He Was
Earlier this month our inbox filled up with people sending us this story about Delta making a disabled passenger crawl off a plane last July.
D. Baraka Kanaan, of Maui, sued Delta Air Lines in Federal Court, claiming Delta's "outrageous conduct occurred not once, but twice."
According to the suit, the passenger had booked tickets from Maui to Nantucket, Mass., where he would be participating in a conference.
He says he called the airline weeks in advance of the trip "to confirm that he is disabled, that he would be traveling with his own wheelchair, and that he required the use of an aisle chair and lift to access the aircraft because he cannot walk."
The complaint saysthat the Delta rep "assured him that all was noted in the company's travel database, and that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability."
His original flight was canceled due to weather. So he caught a flight the next day, but when it arrived at the airport, the plaintiff alleges he "was informed by one of the flight attendants that the airline did not have the required safety equipment, an 'aisle chair' to bring him from his seat to the airplane door; nor did they have a lift to go down the stairs from the aircraft to the tarmac to retrieve his wheelchair."
Given that he needed this equipment to deplane, he asked the flight attendant how he was expected to exit the aircraft.
He claims that the attendant replied, "I don't know, but we can't get you off the plane," even though he says there was a lift available at the neighboring gate. No effort was made by employees to inquire about the use of the lift, says the suit.
With little other option, and no one apparently willing to help, the passenger says he "was forced to crawl down the aisle of the airplane, down the stairs of the aircraft, and across the tarmac to his wheelchair without any assistance from the crew or the use of any mandated safety equipment... There were a great number of people watching."
He says he called Delta, which offered him a $100 voucher for his troubles. The airline also promised that all arrangements would be made so that this didn't happen again on his return trip.
Alas, after another weather-delayed flight, the passenger says when it came time to board, "he was again informed that the necessary safety equipment, an aisle chair and a lift, were unavailable, but that they 'could provide a piece of cardboard to put down so that his clothes wouldn't get dirty."
The passenger says Delta was in violation of the Airline Carrier Access Act which requires planes with at least 31 passengers to "provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities by using ramps, mechanical lifts, or other suitable devices where level-entry boarding by loading bridge or mobile lounge is not available."
Hard to believe this comes on the heels of a recent Delta incident where a disabled veteran was humiliated to tears on a 2012 flight. As well as a 2008 event where Delta made a woman with muscular dystrophy crawl off a plane.
Read More: Consumerist
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