I hate airlines, for all their jacked-up pricing and ridiculous fees for just about everything, but American Airlines has sunk to a new low, possibly the lowest of lows.
Theresa Purcell, who suffers from a neurological disorder, uses a wheelchair to get about, and says the gate attendant for the San Diego commuter flight on American Airlines told her that it was too late to set up the wheelchair ramp for her so … Theresa got out of her wheelchair and crawled to her plane, and not one member of the airport team, or the airline, helped her.
"I crawled up onto the steps. I crawled into the plane. There was no other way for me to get on the plane so I crawled up to the plane. I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane."
Theresa has filed a lawsuit demanding $2.5 million from American and her attorney says if the case goes to court before it’s settled, she’ll ask for $6 million in damages.
Oh, and American Airlines has basically admitted they’re guilty, and acknowledged the airline was in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act, a federal law that requires airlines to provide the necessary assistance for disabled passengers to allow them to enter and exit planes safely. American Airlines says:
"On behalf of US Airways and American Airlines, please accept our apologies for the difficulties Ms. Purcell experienced with her request for level entry boarding. It is imperative to provide essential care and to have a sensitive approach when assisting our passengers who have special needs.
We regret that a ramp was not requested so Ms. Purcell would be able to board the aircraft without going up the stairs, assistance should have been provided shortly thereafter. Based on what you've shared, it appears our employees didn't provide the attentive, courteous and professional service we expect as a company. I understand how the way you are treated can affect your impression of our" airline and sympathize with your displeasure.
After review of the facts, American Airlines admits they were in violation of CFR 14 Part 382 for not having provided level entry boarding as requested."
American Airlines has agreed to pay two million dollars in reparations, but I say that’s not enough. I say they pay the $6 million, and I say that Theresa Purcell flies First Class, for free, for the rest of her life, and is catered to like no one on earth has ever been catered to before.
This is disgusting. American Airlines needs to be sued and fined and publicly shamed for their behavior. Oh, and that gate attendant needs to be fired.