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AA: video & record shows “abandoned” wheelchair passenger was not

AA: video & record shows “abandoned” wheelchair passenger was not

Old Dec 3, 18, 1:41 pm
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AA: video & record shows “abandoned” wheelchair passenger was not

Oops, not good PR for AA.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...re/2191054002/
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:33 pm
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Certainly poorly handled. Looks like they're throwing the porter subcontractor under the bus.

Would you leave the airport with a relative in that condition before the aircraft was wheels up?
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:50 pm
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I have personally seen an elderly AA passenger crying at Heathrow because she was abandoned by her wheelchair assistant (AA provided) for more than an hour - so yes, anything is possible.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:56 pm
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Typical media over-hype and AA caving to media pressure.

She was taken to the airport by her son who had another flight to catch and thus dumped her at her departure gate, but her flight was cancelled.

Turns out that the woman not only requires a wheelchair, but is barely able to communicate. She was offered a hotel, but the wheelchair pusher contract does not include delivering pax to hotels (nor would a sensible hotel accept a person in the woman's condition).

This was 100% on the son for abandoning his mother. AA does not provide caretaker service and the wheelchair people are minimum wage contractors who provide a limited service and are not caretakers themselves. If she had turned up somehow at ORD on her own, I doubt that she would have permitted to proceed.

The only AA fail here is in not assuring that someone who is not capable of traveling alone, as this poor woman clearly was, is accompanied by a properly ticketed passenger. The fact that the son's ticket was to a different destination is a good reason to presume he would dump her at the gate.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 8:52 pm
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Not Enough Information and Lessons Learned!

There is not sufficient information - particularly about the physical, communicative and emotional capabilities of the lady/mother - to assign blame to anyone for the resulting situation. So, making the best of the outcome by reaching some lessons learned: (1) consider the worst possible outcome (flight cancelation, change of gate etc.) to judge if an accompanying person is needed; (2) worst of the worst (uncaring, surly etc.) handicap support person is assigned to the passenger, in order to identify/discuss actions the passenger can initiate on their own (able to identify and communicate with a representative of the airline); (3) indicate on the reservation the degree of support requested (can walk but needs assistance between gates, must use a wheel chair to board) with the specific airport in mind, as is the case of PHX, MSP and some other poorly planned airports, wheelchairs are used to transport passengers to the head of a concourse where passengers are transferred to an electric cart. The AA reservation website is quite good with the request made with the reservation. Delta hides it until the the passenger checks in for a flight. As the personal observation of an handicapped passenger who travels extensively, airlines and their sub-contractors plan for the 'average' flow of passengers with the system degenerating quickly to chaos if a cart fails or an airplane mechanical issue requires a number of passengers to move to a different gate. A sad outcome of what might have been an enjoyable trip..
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Old Dec 3, 18, 11:53 pm
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Why are some defending this? It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, once a passenger who needs additional help is entrusted to AA staff, that’s it. The end.

There is no way to blame anyone but AA staff for this AA blunder. Not the family, not the wages that the unscrupulous subcontractor pays, there is no excuse. Unless they don’t want to accept these customers. In that case, good luck making that case to the flying public.

AA needs to own this blunder and make good on its commitment to help passengers with special needs. Full stop. No blaming family or subcontractors or any other lame excuse.

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 4, 18 at 12:43 pm Reason: Deleted prohibited ad hominem
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:02 am
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As always, there are 2 sides to a story!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/nation/2018/12/04/security-footage-shows-woman-wheelchair-was-not-abandoned-ohare-airport/
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
Why are some defending this? It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, once a passenger who needs additional help is entrusted to AA staff, that’s it. The end.

There is no way to blame anyone but AA staff for this AA blunder. Not the family, not the wages that the unscrupulous subcontractor pays, there is no excuse. Unless they don’t want to accept these customers. In that case, good luck making that case to the flying public.

AA needs to own this blunder and make good on its commitment to help passengers with special needs. Full stop. No blaming family or subcontractors or any other lame excuse.
Yep you're right. AA needs to will some sort of ESP onto its staff so they can become informed about problems they don't even know exist.

As much as you're saying .... need to full stop on what you call a defense of AA, you need to put a full stop on your bAAshing because you don't know squat about what really happened either.

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 4, 18 at 12:44 pm Reason: Edit quoted post to comply
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:23 am
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Originally Posted by bobnchi View Post
As always, there are 2 sides to a story!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/ampht...ohare-airport/
I love happy endings to stories trying to get money out of an airline.

There isn't a video but the WP is a non biased source for airline stuff in my book. She spent what, 45 minutes by herself and went out to smoke a couple of times with a walker? The video even says the family took pictures of her in a wheelchair at the airport before leaving. They did not reply for comment of the video.

Guess a free paycheck wasn't that easy to get.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 6:47 am
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I see from the follow up AA is not to blame after all. Good.

But airlines can do a better job of 1) making sure the porters do their job and 2) the notifications get into the system.

I occasionally need to use the wheelchair service due to back issues. I had an experience earlier this year where I was met at my gate and taken to my next gate. Another assistance passenger also arrived. The porters left because it was quite early for the flight, Unfortunately there was a gate change and because it was so early there was no gate agent in that area. The original gate was in the low D gates at DFW that are not frequently used so there were no airline or airport personnel going past. Thankfully I had someone traveling with me who could walk to find assistance, otherwise there would’ve been two wheelchair passengers “abandoned” at that gate. I wouldn’t call it carelessness but rather circumstances that caused the issue.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
I see from the follow up AA is not to blame after all. Good.

But airlines can do a better job of 1) making sure the porters do their job and 2) the notifications get into the system.

I occasionally need to use the wheelchair service due to back issues. I had an experience earlier this year where I was met at my gate and taken to my next gate. Another assistance passenger also arrived. The porters left because it was quite early for the flight, Unfortunately there was a gate change and because it was so early there was no gate agent in that area. The original gate was in the low D gates at DFW that are not frequently used so there were no airline or airport personnel going past. Thankfully I had someone traveling with me who could walk to find assistance, otherwise there would’ve been two wheelchair passengers “abandoned” at that gate. I wouldn’t call it carelessness but rather circumstances that caused the issue.
On the contrary, this is a clearcut case of a shakedown.

If one called AA and stated that one wished to book a ticket for someone in the mother's condition as originally portrayed (before the walker, the smoking and so on)., AA would advise that it could not provide the service and that the individual would require an attendant to fly with her. This is no different than for a wide range of medical and mental health conditions.

A wheelchair is a means of transporting an individual from somewhere near the curbside to the aircraft (possibly to the seat). But, the service is not a caretaker service and it seems clear that by failing to properly advise AA and by inflating a story, presumably for some cash, this was a deliberate attempt by the family.

Perhaps AA could offer something akin to its UM service. But, it does not. I do not know of any carrier that does. But, until AA chooses to do so, the COC are quite clear about the passenger's condition.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
On the contrary, this is a clearcut case of a shakedown.

If one called AA and stated that one wished to book a ticket for someone in the mother's condition as originally portrayed (before the walker, the smoking and so on)., AA would advise that it could not provide the service and that the individual would require an attendant to fly with her. This is no different than for a wide range of medical and mental health conditions.

A wheelchair is a means of transporting an individual from somewhere near the curbside to the aircraft (possibly to the seat). But, the service is not a caretaker service and it seems clear that by failing to properly advise AA and by inflating a story, presumably for some cash, this was a deliberate attempt by the family.

Perhaps AA could offer something akin to its UM service. But, it does not. I do not know of any carrier that does. But, until AA chooses to do so, the COC are quite clear about the passenger's condition.
An UM is usually going to be in good health and can be easily controlled. A service for disabled paxs or paxs in poor health is an accident waiting to happen, as in this case. No way any airline wants to be on the hook for someone unable to care for their own physical needs between custodians, even with high UM rates.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
Would you leave the airport with a relative in that condition before the aircraft was wheels up?
Even that may not help. My parents were flying FLL-EWR the day before a cruise and some bad weather in NYC was wreaking havoc. I made them a backup booking for early the next morning (which would still get them to the ship on time). Eventually the FLL-EWR flight took off, several hours delayed (after their original flight was cancelled), but I said to myself "I'm not cancelling the backup until they LAND in EWR." Well, lo and behold, 10 minutes after takeoff, the crew noticed a problem with the radar and so the flight turns around, lands back in FLL and is then cancelled.

There are some things that you just can't control for...

In any event, the things people think they can get away with!
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Old Dec 4, 18, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
An UM is usually going to be in good health and can be easily controlled. A service for disabled paxs or paxs in poor health is an accident waiting to happen, as in this case. No way any airline wants to be on the hook for someone unable to care for their own physical needs between custodians, even with high UM rates.
I don't believe that there is any suggestion that it's a good idea. Simply, that it isn't offered and until it is, it does not exist.
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Old Dec 4, 18, 12:26 pm
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Transparent scam. Story is over.
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