Everyone that has ever flown more than likely has a few horror stories regarding layovers, baggage handling, their fellow passengers or even the airport experience. Some of these things simply can’t be helped but when it comes to the handling of personal property, there should be a certain degree of responsibility to those handling our possessions.
Some have checked their computers or other electronic devices only to have them returned broken or not working when they reach their destination. Sadly, this is something that happens all too frequently for those with motorized wheelchairs. The most notable case of this occurring was in 2012 when a woman by the name of Yomi Wrong made the flight from California to Florida.
Once the plane landed, she was forced to sit in the plane for over an hour while she waited for the airline to locate her motorized wheelchair. When they finally retrieved it and brought it to her, it was in very rough shape. The headrest, along with the backrest, was completely broken off. The airline had placed them in the seat with no apparent signs that they had attempted to fix it. To make matters worse, the airport flat out refused to help with the situation due to “liability concerns.”
Wrong’s chair was somewhere in the neighborhood of $26,000 and after much effort, she finally had the airline repair the wheelchair. Wrong’s incident is not an isolated one. This is happening much more often that people might think. And more often than not, the damage done to the chair is not anything that can be seen right away; sometimes it could be faults within the electrical systems to crash your car and not take responsibility for it and that's what happens to us," says Wrong.
Beyond breakage, many times there is damage undetectable by the human eye that may cause the electrical systems to malfunction and even cause physical harm.
The Air Carrier Access Act was passed in 1986. This act prohibits any sort of discrimination against people with disabilities in airports or on airplanes. And while damaged goods are nothing new when it comes to airports, one has to wonder if the proper attention and care are being paid to larger specialty items such as motorized wheelchairs.
How about you? Have you had any negative experiences with your wheelchair at the airport?