I’m in Dallas waiting for an American Airline flight flight to Mexico. In the last 50 minutes, I’ve been treated as if I were shit on the soles of someone’s shoes.I would apologize for the vulgarity, but the anology is just too perfect. My friend, Robert, has suffered the same degrading, inhumane treatment. I actually feared for our lives.I’ve cried, wet myself and hurt all over. By the grace of God, neither of us fell. I didn’t think anything could be worse than United Airline’s “Dumping Ground for the Disabled.” I was wrong! Robert and I are disabled. We both have problems walking. I’ve had 2 significant falls in the last 3 months. My Parkinson’s is rapidly worsening. Not only is walking difficult, it is so painful. The airlines were notified, in advance, that we needed wheelchairs and assistance boarding the plane. An agent met us at the gate and informed me that we would have to walk up a long ramp and wait for him in the transport cart. He stated he needed to help other passengers first. I informed him that Robert and I couldn’t walk up the ramp and needed wheelchairs. I also explained that we had 45 minutes to get to our connecting flight. My Parkinson’s is bad, Robert’s neuropathy is worst. There was one wheelchair available so I gave it to him. I had two choices, miss the plane or walk. A wheelchair showed up so Robert rode and I WALKED THE PLANK. By the time I got on the cart, I felt like I had walked a 10 K.
It’s erie, but I thought the transport cart looked like a coffin. Deja vu as he belted us in and disappeared. Unfortunately, the story gets worse. Our driver raced through the terminal and finally parked 29 yards from an elevator. He then told us to get out. WE were told to walk to the elevator and we would find another cart waiting for us once the elevator stopped.I said no! I tried to explain our situation to him but it fell on deaf ears.He told us that’s there were no wheelchairs and the only way to reach our gate was to walk. He complained that he was just one man and he wasn’t responsible for the mess we were in. That was BULLSHIT! There wasn’t an ounce of compassion in his voice and his actions. I stopped a group of pilots and asked for help. They couldn’t be bothered.
So again I struggled to walk. Robert couldn’t walk so a wheelchair miraculously appeared. It was at that time that Robert realized that his gel, anti ulcer pad had been left in the haste of changing carts. While we waited in yet another dumping ground, Robert requested that someone call and try to recover his cushion. His request was refused! By this time, Robert could barely stand and fell into the new cart.
Again, we were loaded onto a cart and told to wait. For some unknown reason, the new driver did not have permission to drive the cart.
I was livid! Where begging failed, anger and a stern voice succeeded and she took us to our gate. There was an elderly Mexican with us. For some strange reason, she ordered him to “STAY” as if he was a dog. I regret not defending him!
I had a nightmare last night. I have to fly back to Dallas in 2 weeks on my return trip to Charlotte. MY nightmare is that I sat for days in the American Dumping ground and eventually there I am again, humiliated by the whole experience. I truly don’t know how I’m going to get on another American flight.
There is a bright side to this story. Once I made it to the plane, the two flight attendants recognized my distress and immediately went into action. Cory and Lexi Platz (a father daughter team) took me slowly and cautiously to my seat and checked on me throughout. Unlike the pilots, they CARED about the people on that flight. American Airlines would do well to model their crews after the Platzs.
As to the pilots, I thought the captain’s job was to protect his passengers. If that is true, then the seven pilots I approached pleading for help sure did fail.
Shame on American Airlines and the companies they contract with for handicapped services. I am sure my rights were violated. My friend and I were violated. What’s it going to take to fix this?