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Booked WheelChair does not show up. Dad collaspes waiting for immigration

Booked WheelChair does not show up. Dad collaspes waiting for immigration

Old May 24, 13, 1:15 pm
  #1  
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Booked WheelChair does not show up. Dad collaspes waiting for immigration

I called United Airlines about 10 days before the flight and booked Wheelchair for my dad. The United airlines agent confirmed that the wheelchair had been booked and confirmed for the flight (FRA-EWR on UA51)

When he departed the flight @ ewr, there was no wheelchair person waiting for me. He saw wheelchair access for other passengers, but not for him.

He is 73 years old and has difficulty walking. He walked to the immigration and had to wait in line for more than 1 hour. He fainted and fell down. Other passengers helped him up and gave him some water. It took him 2 days to recover after the incident

I have sent emails to United via their contact us system but no response. Can someone tell me what I can do?
Thanks
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Old May 24, 13, 1:25 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
I called United Airlines about 10 days before the flight and booked Wheelchair for my dad. The United airlines agent confirmed that the wheelchair had been booked and confirmed for the flight (FRA-EWR on UA51)

When he departed the flight @ ewr, there was no wheelchair person waiting for me. He saw wheelchair access for other passengers, but not for him.

He is 73 years old and has difficulty walking. He walked to the immigration and had to wait in line for more than 1 hour. He fainted and fell down. Other passengers helped him up and gave him some water. It took him 2 days to recover after the incident

I have sent emails to United via their contact us system but no response. Can someone tell me what I can do?
Thanks
Next time, tell him to sit on the plane until they bring him a wheelchair. He did not have to stand in line for two hours.

I'm so sorry to hear this , though, and hope your dad has fully recovered.
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Old May 24, 13, 1:26 pm
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Yikes. I hope your dad is OK now?

You can call United's customer relations phone line to get immediate feedback. What do you want to happen here?
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Old May 24, 13, 1:30 pm
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Yeah, that is what i told him, do not move till one of the UA agents gets you a wheelchair.

Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
Yikes. I hope your dad is OK now?

You can call United's customer relations phone line to get immediate feedback. What do you want to happen here?
I do not know, but at least UA should know what happen. Do you think it is fair to ask for some form of compensation?

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 24, 13 at 2:40 pm Reason: merge
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Old May 24, 13, 1:39 pm
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first of all i hope your dad is better.

secondly, i do not know the circumstances, but i am guessing that your father walked away on his own instead of waiting until a wheelchair for him to arrive. if he stayed on the plane, the crew would have noticed him and then UA would eventually get a wheelchair. if the pax walks away on his own, however, do you expect the agent to track the person down and say didnt you order a wheelchair? however, as we all see, many pax "book" wheelchairs to get to the front of the line and then walk off on their own at the end of the flight (somehow 35000 feet cures their ailments). it is the repeated behavior that i have personally observed. if he didnt ask for a wheelchair and headed to immigration on his own, he needs to take responsibility.

again, based on the facts written so far, it doesnt appear UA did anything wrong - your dad should have stood at the gate/sat on the plane till the wheelchair arrived. seeking compensation seems to really be out of line...
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Old May 24, 13, 1:46 pm
  #6  
Ari
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Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
I do not know, but at least UA should know what happen. Do you think it is fair to ask for some form of compensation?
It depends if that's what you want. If you want to take a free trip somewhere, complain to UA again and again until you get something.

If you want action and vindication, file a complaint with the DOT. Since the no show of the wheelchair culminated in what could have become a very serious medical issue (he is lucky, worse things can happen with a fall), the DOT might throw a $10,000 fine UA's way. DOT takes this wheelchair stuff seriously-- just ask Frontier how they liked their $50,000 fine.

What happened getting off the plane and his interaction with UA at that point is crucial, and you haven't provided nearly enough information about that interaction. If there was no wheelchair waiting for him and he just walked off without making his problem known to UA, UA shouldn't take too much blame.

Last edited by Ari; May 24, 13 at 2:01 pm
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Old May 24, 13, 1:46 pm
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upon arriving at an airport you either ask the skycap to please call for the WC (as I do for my mom) or if no SCs go inside and find an airline employee to do it

It makes no difference which airline you are flying, there is no wheelchair line like a taxi line , where all they do is wait till someone walks up and says I need a WC

As others have said already it seems your father unfortunately walked off on his own.Instead of waiting till someone arrived with a WC, btw the crew arent suppose to leave the plane till All the passengers have gotten off, so its best for the person waiting for the WC to sit themselves down by the door that everyone was exiting thru

Originally Posted by Ari View Post
It depends if that's what you want. If you want to take a free trip somewhere, complain to UA again and again until you get something.

If you want action and vindication, file a complaint with the DOT. Since the no show of the wheelchair culminated in what could have become a very serious medical issue (he is lucky, worse things can happen with a fall), the DOT might throw a $10,000 fine UA's way. DOT takes this wheelchair stuff seriously-- just ask Frontier how they liked their $50,000 fine.

What happened getting off the plane and his interaction with UA at that point is crucial, and you haven't provided nearly enough information about that interaction.


theres a big difference between not taking care of a WC assist person and the person having to wait till a person can get there with a WC. If they are all tied up then the person simply must remain on board till they get there,as my Mom has done countless times.

Being inpatient isnt UAs or any carriers fault, the WC assist folks are the last passenegers to get off and should remain sitted till then in any seat

If the OPs father walked off on his own and didnt want to wait since the wc didnt arrive yet Compensation = Zippo

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 24, 13 at 2:40 pm Reason: merge
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Old May 24, 13, 1:47 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by OMAguy View Post
first of all i hope your dad is better.

secondly, i do not know the circumstances, but i am guessing that your father walked away on his own instead of waiting until a wheelchair for him to arrive. if he stayed on the plane, the crew would have noticed him and then UA would eventually get a wheelchair. if the pax walks away on his own, however, do you expect the agent to track the person down and say didnt you order a wheelchair? however, as we all see, many pax "book" wheelchairs to get to the front of the line and then walk off on their own at the end of the flight (somehow 35000 feet cures their ailments). it is the repeated behavior that i have personally observed. if he didnt ask for a wheelchair and headed to immigration on his own, he needs to take responsibility.

again, based on the facts written so far, it doesnt appear UA did anything wrong - your dad should have stood at the gate/sat on the plane till the wheelchair arrived. seeking compensation seems to really be out of line...
I would not go that far. They did not provide the orderd wheelchair, they did do that wrong.

To the OP,

did you talk to the FA's during the flight to make sure a wheelchair would be there when you land? I personnaly would not rely on an order given 10 days before. I would have confirmed with the FA's prior to landing that you need, and had ordered, a wheelchair for your father. You may have done that but I do not see that you did in your original post.
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Old May 24, 13, 1:55 pm
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Just to be clear, my dad wheelchair requirement was not to cut the line (he was flying international Business class by the way). I booked wheelchair for him for the entire trip (BOM-FRA-EWR-IAH-FRA-BOM) He does not speak very good english and is diabetic.

He said that when he got off the plan at FRA, there was a wheelchair waiting for him with his name. He expected the same thing when he landed at EWR. Since he did not see it, he assumed I did not book it for him and he asked another wheel chair person to take him. That person told him no and that he was waiting for another passenger.
He then walked to immigration. He waited in line for close to 80-90 minutes and that is when he fainted.

Originally Posted by Baze View Post
I would not go that far. They did not provide the orderd wheelchair, they did do that wrong.

To the OP,

did you talk to the FA's during the flight to make sure a wheelchair would be there when you land? I personnaly would not rely on an order given 10 days before. I would have confirmed with the FA's prior to landing that you need, and had ordered, a wheelchair for your father. You may have done that but I do not see that you did in your original post.
This is a lesson learned. I will make sure I follow up 24 hrs before the flight for his outbound flight.

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 24, 13 at 2:41 pm Reason: merge
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Old May 24, 13, 1:58 pm
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Y'all are harsh. This again goes to customer service. How does a 72 year old man who doesn't fly much know that he's expected to sit on the plane for hours until a wheelchair arrives, especially when he sees a bunch show up for everyone but him. Maybe no compensation is due but come on this is hardly the OP's father's fault. In any other industry this wouldn't fly and the negative PR would be huge.

That being said the blame may not lie with United as much as the company providing service. At DCA last night they made SEVEN announcements over the full terminal PA for a wheelchair assist and it finally came after an hour in a very small (relatively speaking) airport. In this case the GA had the family sitting in the gate area waiting but still pretty absurd.
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Old May 24, 13, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
This is a lesson learned. I will make sure I follow up 24 hrs before the flight for his outbound flight.
I am gathering you were not on the flight with him. Stress to your father he needs to talk to the FA's before landing that he needs a wheelchair and to sit tight until it arrives. Again, I would not rely on the order being in the reservation. Nice that it worked in FRA with his name on it but I have never seen that in the USA. If his English is not very good he can just learn a couple words, 1. English not good and 2. need wheelchair when land.

Things about what happened are getting clearer that the system worked as it should in FRA and your father assumed it would be the same in EWR.

To the people who say he walked off on his own it is his fault I would hope after the latest explanation you would have a little more sympathy. Not everyone is a FlyerTalker and knows all the ropes. An infrequent flyer did not know how to make sure the system worked right after seeing it work right at the previous airport.
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Old May 24, 13, 2:06 pm
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It is OK if there is zero compensation, the point is that there needs to be some expectation of service. The UA agent on the phone confirmed and assured me that wheel chair was booked. Am i wrong in expecting that this simple request be fulfilled?

I had called Luftansa and they delivered, why UA could not? They should be accountable for this and least that can do is acknowledge it and offer apology.
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Old May 24, 13, 2:06 pm
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Ari
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Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
Just to be clear, my dad wheelchair requirement was not to cut the line (he was flying international Business class by the way). I booked wheelchair for him for the entire trip (BOM-FRA-EWR-IAH-FRA-BOM) He does not speak very good english and is diabetic.
That he was flying business class really isn't relevant to this discussion.

Originally Posted by Ari View Post
What happened getting off the plane and his interaction with UA at that point is crucial, and you haven't provided nearly enough information about that interaction. If there was no wheelchair waiting for him and he just walked off without making his problem known to UA, UA shouldn't take too much blame.
Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
He expected the same thing when he landed at EWR. Since he did not see it, he assumed I did not book it for him and he asked another wheel chair person to take him. That person told him no and that he was waiting for another passenger.
Now that you provided the additional information, it seems UA is very minimally at fault here; he had to make his needs known to someone with UA.
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Old May 24, 13, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
I would not go that far. They did not provide the orderd wheelchair, they did do that wrong.

To the OP,

did you talk to the FA's during the flight to make sure a wheelchair would be there when you land? I personnaly would not rely on an order given 10 days before. I would have confirmed with the FA's prior to landing that you need, and had ordered, a wheelchair for your father. You may have done that but I do not see that you did in your original post.
part of the problem is that there are only x number of wc's and employees working them.They have to meet people both curb side flying out and at the jetway for those arriving.

In a perfect world theyd be a wc and employee for each and every person who requested it.It doesnt go that way, if an arriving passenger has checked bags and they are the last bags off the carousel they will be held up getting to the next party.If the person who is picking up the wc assist passenger hasnt arrived yet or is driving around the airport being told 'you can only pull over when the person is curbside' again that chair and employee will be detained. etc etc etc Lets not even get into the plane was suppose to park at Gate c 134 and the plane there went MX and the new gate is now C79 (@ EWR) so all those wcs now have to get to the new gate and will be out of play longer then expected.

My mom has been wc assist for the past 10 yrs its Extremely rare that the airline she is flying messed up and didnt order it or forgot about her, usually its simply too much demand and they are all tied up = simply having to wait till it arrives.

Originally Posted by johnny2001 View Post
It is OK if there is zero compensation, the point is that there needs to be some expectation of service. The UA agent on the phone confirmed and assured me that wheel chair was booked. Am i wrong in expecting that this simple request be fulfilled?

I had called Luftansa and they delivered, why UA could not? They should be accountable for this and least that can do is acknowledge it and offer apology.
It may be a good thing to provide your father index cards in the languages of the Countrys he will be connecting in or staying in, saying exactly what he needs.

Ive never seen what your father ran into in Germany any time here in the US

(recently when I was just in Asia, I ran intoa problem and was promised an employee wil be at my door at the given times to escort me out of the hotel. I asked the mgr if he could please do me a favor and write me a note in their language as a To whom it may concern, what exactly I need to have done in case I cant find someone with enough English to understand my predictament,he did and I had to use it since the person who was suppos etoe scort me was delayed and I needed to get out).

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 24, 13 at 2:41 pm Reason: merge
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Old May 24, 13, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
part of the problem is that there are only x number of wc's and employees working them.They have to meet people both curb side flying out and at the jetway for those arriving.

In a perfect world theyd be a wc and employee for each and every person who requested it.It doesnt go that way, if an arriving passenger has checked bags and they are the last bags off the carousel they will be held up getting to the next party.If the person who is picking up the wc assist passenger hasnt arrived yet or is driving around the airport being told 'you can only pull over when the person is curbside' again that chair and employee will be detained. etc etc etc Lets not even get into the plane was suppose to park at Gate c 134 and the plane there went MX and the new gate is now C79 (@ EWR) so all those wcs now have to get to the new gate and will be out of play longer then expected.

My mom has been wc assist for the past 10 yrs its Extremely rare that the airline she is flying messed up and didnt order it or forgot about her, usually its simply too much demand and they are all tied up = simply having to wait till it arrives.
I agree with everything you are saying but what is unknown at this point is if the father said anything prior to landing and just expected the wheelchair to be ther with his name on it like it was in FRA based on the order in the reservation. If he had said something maybe a WC would have been there. If he did say something at no WC them it may be the scenario you descibe as none available. Whether or not there was actually a WC available in the airport is irrelevant to this part of the discussion. The OP had the order placed into the reservation. I don't think and don't know if UA has the capacity to look at all the reservations of incoming flights to see if there is a WC required.

To the OP

Who was the ticket purchased from? UA or LH? Not that it should make a difference.
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