Air Canada passenger says wheelchair users are being 'abandoned and forgotten' in airports amid mass flight delays and cancellations
- A wheelchair user told Insider she was "abandoned" by
Air Canadaafter her flight was canceled.
- Her June 25 flights from Dallas to St. John's were delayed nearly a dozen times and canceled twice.
Morgan Jones, a 34-year-old with fibromyalgia and lupus, told Insider that people who use wheelchairs were being "abandoned and forgotten" by
"I've read about mothers with babies stuck on the floor. I've read of luggage lost and delays," Jones, who works for a pharmaceutical-distribution company, said, adding: "But no one has spoken about the vulnerable and ADA passengers' hell."
On June 25, Jones flew from Dallas to Minneapolis to Toronto to St. John's, Newfoundland, according to flight documents viewed by Insider. Throughout the journey, her flights were delayed nearly a dozen times and canceled twice.
Jones said the wheelchair assistance provided by
But she said other airline and airport staff left her and fellow passengers with disabilities "stuck" at various points in their journeys. That forced their fellow passengers to push them through the airport on several occasions, she added.
'All the fellow wheelchair users were just left there'
At the Air Canada gate in Minneapolis, Jones said she met an older woman in a wheelchair who said she had been left alone waiting for an agent for a "long time" and hadn't "eaten or been taken to the restroom in 10 hours."
After multiple delays in Minneapolis, Jones landed in Toronto at about 9 p.m., two hours later than planned. Passengers then waited an hour on the tarmac for the ground crew to arrive and an additional hour for an agent to open the gate door, she said.
"There was one agent who was on his second day on the job and there were 7 passengers needing assistance with wheelchairs," she told Insider over email. "Fellow passengers eventually helped get us all upstairs."
At about midnight, Jones' flight from Toronto to St. John's was canceled because of "crew constraints," emails showed. Airline staff said passengers would not be provided meals or hotel vouchers, Jones said.
Then, she said an agent left "with me sitting in a wheelchair right in front of his path," adding: "All agents and staff were now gone. All the fellow wheelchair users were also just left there."
When contacted by Insider about its accessibility services, Air Canada said it dealt with customers directly and that airlines were "currently challenged due to issues with airports and third-party providers of such services as passenger screening, customs, and air navigation."
"We are working hard with these partners and governments to resolve these issues as they are affecting the performance of airlines," the spokesperson added.
'They are going to end up causing a medical emergency'
As they waited for their flights to be rebooked, Jones said her fellow passengers brought her down to baggage claim to find her luggage. Baggage claim was a "mess," Jones said, adding that she saw a mother crying on the concrete floor with her toddler and baby.
Around 3:30 a.m., the fellow passengers took Jones with them to the Air Canada customer-service counters, where she estimated 500 people were attempting to form a line.
There, a fellow customer informed Jones and other people using wheelchairs that there was an Air Canada special-assistance counter over in the American Airlines section. The passengers who had been transporting Jones all night then "demanded" the counter agent provide assistance, she said.
The counter agent was able to take Jones off her auto-booked flight, which added a layover in Montreal, and put her on a direct flight to St. John's at 6 a.m., she said.
Jones made it to her final destination at 11:30 a.m. on June 26, over 14 hours later than originally scheduled.
"They are going to end up causing a medical emergency if wheelchair-bound passengers continue to be abandoned and forgotten," Jones said. "We were fortunate that we could walk some and voice our need for help but others are not going to be so lucky or able."
When a passenger with a disability requests assistance from an airline to move through the airport, the airline is required to promptly provide assistance, according to the US Department of
Here's what the department says you should do if you encounter a disability-related issue involving an airline accommodation or service.
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