Monday, March 17, 2008
Airlines blowing the wheelchair thing
…Barbara De Lollis, USA Today, tells a story of an 83-year-old waiting for a wheelchair to meet her plane—and sitting for half an hour and finally being told to leave the plane. No wheelchair. Then she stood in the jetway, leaning on her cane for half an hour.
…This was at 2:00 in the morning, people! The woman needed service.
…This is a law, not some little frill like you know, food and drink. Airlines must provide free wheelchair service under the Air Carrier Access Act.
…In the last three years, 34,000 diabled flyers have complained of the treatment they got—or didn’t get. In over half these cases, wheelchair assistance was the problem.
…Uh-oh---this could be the problem. The airlines contract for this service with outside companies.
…An LA airports commissioner, himself disabled, says wheelchair assistants are low-paid and exploited. They make less than $19,000 a year. Most have not been trained in how to lift or help a disabled passenger.
…Well, isn’t that special? Fix it!