Air Canada once left the wheelchair of Canada's top accessibility officer behind before a cross-country flight

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Air Canada once left the wheelchair of Canada's top accessibility officer behind before a cross-country flight
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  • Air Canada is facing heat over allegations it mistreated disabled passengers.
  • Canada's top accessibility officer said last month the airline forgot to bring her wheelchair on board.
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Air Canada — which is now facing accusations of mistreating disabled passengers — once left the wheelchair of Canada's top accessibility officer behind before a cross-country flight.

"Well. @AirCanada left my chair in Toronto," Stephanie Cadieux posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, late last month. "I'm now without my essential equipment. Independence taken away. I'm furious. Unacceptable. #RightsOnFlights"

She later wrote in a LinkedIn post that the experience was "immensely frustrating and dehumanizing."

"My job title as Chief Accessibility Officer should not influence the experience I have when I fly," she wrote. "Every person with a disability who entrusts their wheelchair to an airline should expect and be granted the same service. We are all customers."

Air Canada said in a statement to Canadian news outlet CBC that it apologized to Cadieux and recognizes that "mobility devices are vital to their users."

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The airline has since faced a slew of other allegations.

An undercover investigation by CBC revealed that in one instance, a flight crew disconnected a disabled passenger's ventilator and dropped a mobility lift on her head.

In late August, a man who uses a wheelchair had to drag himself off the plane after Air Canada crewmembers refused to assist him, he and his wife alleged.

And in September, a man died after he suffered a medical emergency during a flight and the pilot and crew ignored his daughter's pleas to land the plane so she could get her father to a hospital.

When reached for comment, an Air Canada spokesperson pointed Insider to a November 9 statement laying out a series of measures the airline says it will take to improve the experiences of customers with disabilities.

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"Air Canada recognizes the challenges customers with disabilities encounter when they fly and accepts its responsibility to provide convenient and consistent service so that flying with us becomes easier. Sometimes we do not meet this commitment, for which we offer a sincere apology," Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau said. "As our customers with disabilities tell us, the most important thing is that we continuously improve in the future. We are listening to them and today we are committing to do better and demonstrating that commitment with concrete actions."

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