Paraplegics Getting Compensation From Airlines

Recently, I used an airline to go on a short trip somewhere. What happened was that once the airplane landed, I patiently waited for every single other passenger to get off, and then waited for someone with an aisle chair to come and assist me with getting off. They never came. Luckily I had my girlfriend carry me off on her back and then get me back into the wheelchair.

Of course, this is absolutely not okay. Myself, I’m most upset with the disrespect of my time. Here’s how my thoughts go on this subject: I am grateful that the global system and infrastructure supports accessibility needs/wants, however, with these systems in place there develops a factor of reliability and responsibility to perform. A similar situation is that in Greece, I’m not upset when a restaurant is on the second floor with only stairs to get in, however, in The USA, which has the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am quite upset/disappointed when a restaurant only has stairs and the stairs must be used (this happened in Boulder, CO).

This, by chance, happened to me twice! I flew out to Minneapolis, MN, and getting on the plane was smooth, getting off my girlfriend carried me. Then on my way back home to Colorado, getting on the plane was fine but getting off was the exact same issue, and the aisle chair never did come.

Here’s where the title meets the text. I eventually got off the plane, calm overall, but seeking compensation for my time. All the flight attendants were on MY side, they put into their internal messaging system the mishap and so on. I requested to speak to the manager of the company that is responsible for the aisle chair, etc. He apologized, but that doesn’t mean much to me, because of course anyone would be sorry but show it. I consistently asked for compensation for my time (getting off the plane, and also waiting for 20m to talk to him only for an apology).

What I learned later is that it (somehow) is that the company responsible for the aisle chairs is NOT responsible for giving compensation. It IS the airline itself. I learned this by getting a phone call from the airline manager, he gave me and my girlfriend each a $100 flight voucher. Very nice.

Here’s the takeaway. Not getting off the airplane can happen. The plane cannot board the next flight until you get off. The airline wants you off, so let THEM put the pressure on the company to come and assist you with getting off. Keep track of the time, if it’s longer than 20m (remember this is already after EVERYONE else has gotten off), ask who you can speak to about getting compensation.

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