Sunday, November 22, 2015

Shocking Ways Airlines Are Mistreating the Disabled

Emily Ladau (Photo: Emily Ladau)
It should have been just a routine business trip for Emily Ladau from New York City to Minnesota, where she was scheduled to speak at a disability rights conference. But the return flight home on Delta turned into a nightmare.

Ladau, who has Larsen Syndrome — a genetic joint and muscle disorder that has left her unable to walk — requires a wheelchair for transportation. The crew checked her wheelchair, like they always do, and escorted her to her seat on the plane via one of airline’s aisle wheelchairs. But she was in for a shock when they landed. 

“When I arrived at the gate I discovered the staff had no idea where my wheelchair was,” she recalls.

Even more disconcerting, none of the airline personnel seemed concerned. “They told me to walk over to baggage claim and file a missing luggage report,” she says. “By then, I was in tears, trying to explain to them, ‘How do you expect me to walk? My wheelchair is my legs!’ They were treating a $15,000 piece of equipment like a missing Samsonite suitcase.”

Ladau’s friend pushed her through the airport in the airline’s flimsy aisle chair, a process that was uncomfortable, jarring and took about 45 minutes. They found the wheelchair, sitting untagged in front of an office near baggage claim.

Passenger D’Arcee Neal made headlines recently when he crawled off of his flight after United Airlines failed to bring him his wheelchair. But while his story inspired outrage — and an apology from United — disability rights activists say his story is more the norm than the exception when it comes to air travel for people with physical disabilities.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, airlines have a slew of regulations they need to comply with to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including movable aisle armrests, accessible bathrooms, and providing assistance when it comes to boarding, deplaning, and making connections. Yet the Department of Transportation (DOT) still receives 600 to 700 formal disability-related complaints per year, or about 5 percent of total airline passenger complaints annually. And the airlines themselves receive far more: over 27,500 in 2014 for both national and international travel, according to the DOT.

“For every claim filed, we believe there are at least 100 other individuals who experienced the same treatment who don’t bother filing complaints,” says Dara Baldwin, a public policy analyst at the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C. Here, Yahoo uncovers some of the most common issues.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Shocking Ways Airlines Are Mistreating the Disabled

1 comment:

Ronald said...

The disabled pay the same amount for their ticket as every passenger. To treat them differently or without respect should be an embarrassment to the airline.