Airline Under Fire After Humiliating Treatment Of Disabled Passenger ➠ Forced To Crawl Onto Plane
Places of business are expected to have certain accommodations for disabled patrons, and airlines are no different. However, one airline failed miserably, resulting in the utterly humiliating treatment of a disabled passenger.
Theresa Purcell is an entertainer, who flies often. Theresa is also wheelchair-bound due to a bone disease. But she’s never let her disability hold her back. As an artist who flies all the time, she knew to make the request to have a ramp or a wheelchair lift to help her board the plane. You can imagine her surprise when she arrived and the necessary accommodations weren’t there. But what happened next is unbelievable.
Ready to board her American Airlines commuter flight from San Diego, but unable to do so, Theresa brought the issue to the airline’s attention. However, the agent at the gate told her it was too late.
“There was a ramp right next to the plane and she was like, ‘Oh, it’s too late,’ so I was like ‘Okay, so we can’t just, the ramp is right there. Can’t you guys just push it right here so I can get on?’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry,” Purcell said.
That’s when things took an embarrassing turn. Although Theresa says she let American Airlines know ahead of time that she would need a ramp, and she could see a ramp available, she was forced to crawl onto the plane. She then had to crawl all the way to her seat.
“I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane,” Purcell said.
Now, Theresa is fighting back and has officially filed a lawsuit against American Airlines. Her attorney wrote a letter asking for compensation. However, the airline declined with the following statement:
“Thank you for your letter of demand on behalf of Theresa Purcell. American Airlines will not be issuing any compensation for your client’s injuries claim.”
Although the airline declined giving Theresa the requested compensation, they have apologized, but Theresa isn’t satisfied. Both Theresa and her attorney feel it’s time to teach American Airlines a lesson. Theresa says an apology is not enough. She wants to make sure nothing like this happens to anyone ever again.
“You wouldn’t want to watch your family member crawl on to a plane. I mean, come on, this is America,” Purcell said. “I’m just saying there’s always a way.”
This was Theresa’s first time flying the friendly skies with American Airlines, and it’s safe to say, it’s probably her last. Theresa is still flying with other airlines, but the American Airlines incident still haunts her.
“Is today another time where I have to climb onto an airplane again, where all these people have to watch me embarrass myself again, and I gotta be there, hoping please, I hope I never see these people again?” Purcell said.