A paraplegic customer is claiming he was forced to move down the aisle of a plane on his bottom multiple times because of a lack of proper equipment.
Tyler Schilhabel was travelling on United Airlines from Los Angeles to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with his wife for their honeymoon, WLS reported.
When Mr Schilhabel landed in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to make his quick connecting flight, he was not given an aisle chair, a type of wheelchair used by passengers getting on and off the plane. Instead, a United Airlines flight attendant physically carried him out to his wheelchair, which was waiting in the terminal Fox News reports.
“One of the flight attendants, who knew that I was in a rush and the aisle chair wasn’t there, he actually picked me up, lifted me and put me into my normal chair so that I could make my connecting flight,” Mr Schilhabel told WLS.
Though the airport allegedly had an aisle chair, airline staff reportedly decided carrying Mr Schilhabel would be faster.
The traveller’s problems with proper equipment did not end there, however.
Once the couple landed in Punta Cana, Mr Schilhabel claimed he had to traverse the plane aisle on his bottom since the airport did not have an aisle chair. Once off the plane, Mr Schilhabel had to slide down the stairs with the help of his wife as the airport’s accessible lift was broken, he tweeted.
“I had to scoot on my bottom all the way to the front of the plane, and when we realised there wasn’t a ramp or anything else, my wife and I just decided, no, it’s not safe. We don’t trust them to carry me down the flight of stairs, so we just hopped down. She grabbed my legs, and I hopped down step by step on my bottom,” he told WLS.
On the journey home, Mr Schilhabel said he suffered more problems. This time when landing at O’Hare, an aisle chair was not available at all and the passenger claims he had to scoot out of the plane once again.
United Airlines said in a statement to Fox News that they have apologised to Mr Schilhabel and are actively looking into this matter and working to ensure it does not happen again.
“We are proud to operate an airline that doesn’t just include people with disabilities but welcomes them as customers. In fact, thousands of people with disabilities fly United every day. That said, this incident falls far short of our own high standard of caring for our customers. We have been in touch with the customer to apologise and assure him that the errors that led to this situation are extremely rare.”
United Airlines confirmed to Fox News that the company has ordered a new lift for the airport at Punta Cana to avoid situations like this in the future.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission.
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