Airline Apologizes To Man With Cerebral Palsy Who Is Forced To Crawl Off Plane

Photo: Charles Polidano / Touch The Skies / Alamy Stock Photo.
Anyone who has ever had to hurry up and wait when getting on or off an airplane knows what an exercise in frustration it can be, even when everything goes well. But for one disabled passenger, the frustration turned into something much worse.

D’Arcee Neal, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was forced to crawl along the aisle when his United Airlines flight failed to provide the specialized wheelchair he needed to exit the plane. Ironically, Neal, 29, was flying home from a San Francisco meeting on disabled-accessibility policies. After an apparent mistake in which the special wheelchair designed to fit in the narrow aisle of an airplane was sent away, Neal was made to wait more than a half hour for the wheelchair to return. Eventually, he was forced to leave without the chair because he needed to use the restroom at the airline terminal — as airplane toilets are not accessible to him because of his condition.

According to Neal, flight attendants watched him crawl without offering assistance until he reached the gangway, where a wheelchair waited. Afterward, he went home without reporting the incident, but was surprised when he received an phone call from the airline the next day. "I didn't contact United at all, because I honestly didn't believe they cared," he told CNN. The airline reached out to apologize to Neal after a flight attendant reported what had happened. It also offered him a $300 compensation, which he accepted.

The Los Angeles Times suggests that Neal's story is indicative of a rise in complaints against airlines for their treatment of disabled passengers. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported more than 24,000 disability complaints against 36 U.S.-based air carriers in 2014, with over half of those complaints regarding the "failure to provide adequate assistance to persons using wheelchairs." In the past decade, the number of disability-related disputes against domestic carriers has nearly doubled, with 2014, the most recent year on record, showing a 9% increase.
Advertisement

More from US News

Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
What can you do to make the candidates first head-to-head battle as pleasant as possible? What is the secret to keep yourself smizing as you listen to the ...
The 2016 presidential election has been a captivating contest. If you feel like sometimes you can't look away, well, you're not alone. Even celebrities ...
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
In the social order of bonobos, females rule and develop cross-generational bonds to keep the males in check. A senior female takes charge, intervening ...
The first presidential debate is finally upon us. On Monday, our candidates for commander-in-chief will finally go head-to-head on issues that matter ...
Update: Protests continued in Charlotte as the populace called for the release of the tape of Keith Lamont Scott's killing. Mayor Jennifer Roberts ...
Update: Officer Betty Shelby, the policewoman who fatally shot Terence Crutcher last Friday, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, NBC News ...
Step aside, old-school political merch. We're way past bumper stickers and buttons. With the election just months away, people across the country are ...
Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton from Funny Or Die Will Tim Kaine be president for nine months if Hillary Clinton gets pregnant? ...
Goodbye, paperwork printouts and lines at the DMV. Hello, registering while in line for coffee. Starting today, you can register to vote over text ...
1. Here At Home: No charges will be filed against police in the shooting death of Korryn Gaines. Korryn Gaines, 23, was shot and killed on August 1 ...
It happened again. This week, two Black men went from living, breathing human beings to hashtags. And yet, despite all I hear about hashtag activism, I'm...
Many of the stations throughout the gun range are filled with men. But here, all the shooters — and instructors — are women