The Others: The Disabled and United Airlines
Brian Rivera

First of all I think a disabled person should be permitted to board a plane in their own wheelchair. Because in many cases a person’s wheelchair is custom designed to address certain issues related to the person’s disability; and those so called “isle chairs” may not have features to address those issues. And as this Gentleman pointed out; when your sitting in a wheelchair that is not designed to conform to your body, you may experience some pain, or some heath problems that you have related to your Disability could be made worse. For example this gentleman specified that he had a burning pain due to a nerve being “Pinched”, and Numbness in his legs when the inappropriate chair caused problems with the blood circulation in his legs. And what was more disturbing was the fact that this Gentleman felt afraid to tell the Airline Staff & the Independent contractors that he was experiencing intense pain and needed to be moved out of the Isle chair as soon as possible. He was worried that if he said anything while they were fighting with each other; they might take their frustrations out on him somehow. And what I find really unbelievable; is the fact that none of the baggage handlers was properly trained in the proper way to transport & stow an electric wheelchair. I’m sure that Gentleman was not the first person to travel with an electric wheelchair. The airline staff & baggage handlers should be trained to properly assist a person with disabilities in a polite and courteous manner. And they should also be trained to interact with contract personnel in a polite and efficient manner that makes air travel a pleasant and seamless process for everyone. Including people with disabilities. I think that the contract personnel mentioned in this article should have been trained in suitable methods of conflict resolution & anger management as well. Sadly; this isn’t the first story I’ve heard about a disabled person having an unpleasant Air Travel experience. Just last year the famous concert violinist, Itzak Pearlman, had an absolutely Horrific experience with Air Canada Staff when he flew to Toronto to perform with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The story of what happened to him was covered by all the Major News organizations; including the Toronto Star Newspaper. You would think that after the indignities that Itzak suffered at the hands of Air Canada became public the Airline would have taken steps to correct the problems he identified. But as far as I know; those issues still have not been addressed. So other Disabled travelers will likely continue to have the same difficulties when flying with Air Canada.