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Disabled travel blogger carried off Air Canada-operated flight in 'broken aisle chair'

Rebecca Rommen   

Disabled travel blogger carried off Air Canada-operated flight in 'broken aisle chair'
  • A Canadian travel blogger said she was carried off an Air Canada-operated flight in a "broken aisle chair."
  • Tori Hunter, 26, uses an electric wheelchair due to a neuromuscular condition.

A travel blogger has spoken out about wheelchair accessibility on aircraft after she was left "distraught" while being carried off of a plane.

Tori Hunter, 26, posted a video of herself being carried down an airstair in a "broken aisle chair" that she said had "no armrests, straps that wouldn't tighten enough to keep my body in, and front wheels that were busted off."

Hunter, who uses an electric wheelchair due to a neuromuscular condition called spinal muscular atrophy, had been on an Air Canada flight to Costa Rica when the incident occurred.

"The individuals that were sent to help me disembark this plane likely had very little training on how to do so; they kept having to place the chair down from not having the correct grip, and they were holding the chair completely sideways," Hunter wrote on Instagram.

"I was never informed that this would be how I would have to disembark the plane, and it never crossed my mind given that this airport DOES use jet bridges," she added. "It's 2024, disabled people deserve a more dignified and safe way to fly."

Business Insider has reached out to Hunter for comment.

According to a report by the US Department of Transportation, more than 51% of the 33,631 complaints received by 180 carriers in 2021 "concerned the carriers' failure to provide adequate assistance to persons using wheelchairs."

The department said it was "focused on improving air travel for persons with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs."

In a statement to BBC News, Air Canada said that it had followed all the protocols for helping passengers with disabilities.

"However, as part of our accessibility plan, we will be reviewing airport procedures, including for smaller foreign stations, with the aim of working with local airport and other partners to find ways to provide more consistent service," it added.

Air Canada did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Business Insider, which was made outside regular working hours.

Air travel can be a huge source of anxiety for wheelchair users.

Ryan Rae Harbuck, who has been paralyzed for nearly 27 years, wrote an essay for Business Insider in March describing what it's like.

"Being a passenger on an airplane when you are a wheelchair user is giving up all reigns of mobility and independence," Harbuck wrote. "It's like taking away your legs and expecting you not to say a word about it."


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