Photo Credit: American Airlines
American Airlines Loses Passenger’s $22K Wheelchair
American Airlines misplaces a passenger’s $22,000 wheelchair during a flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, with a layover in Miami. Xavi Santiago told her story on TikTok which has gone viral over the weekend to over 272,000 views. Apparently, the airline forgot to put the electric wheelchair on to the plane at her initial departure.
Upon arrival to the layover city of Miami, was when she found out her chair did not make it there with her. However, she was reassured that her chair would be in Orlando on the following flight. The airline offered Santiago a manual wheelchair in the meantime. Where they also failed to produce in a timely fashion. By the end of the whole ordeal, Santiago and her wife waited 5 hours at the Orlando airport for her wheelchair to arrive.
The victim’s account:
“The entire time, I had no idea if my chair was going to show up. If it was going to be damaged, what was going to happen? This is not a lost bag. This is my mobility. These are like my legs,” Santiago said in a statement to the Insider.
No customer service help:
Santiago also claims to have reached out to the airline’s customer service multiple times and that each person told her a different story instead of a solution. Then at the Orlando airport the agents would only speak to her wife and not Santiago, which caused even more frustration.
“I constantly have feelings of really not being seen as a person,” Santiago stated. “I know it’s a common feeling for a lot of disabled people that they think that because you have physical disabilities, that it means that you’re any less capable or any less competent. And I sure as hell am not either of those things.”
To add insult to injury, Santiago’s initial flight was supposed to be a non-stop flight.
“When I booked my flight, I booked a one-way potentially because I am very aware of airlines and how they treat disabled people. I know disabled people who have had their mobility aids broken, damaged, or lost by airlines,” Santiago said.
A response from the airline:
American Airlines response to the incident to PEOPLE: “We want all of our customers to have a positive travel experience when they fly with us, including those who travel with wheelchairs and assistive devices.”
“We extend our sincerest apologies for our customer’s recent experience as they waited for their wheelchair on a recent trip with us,” they continued. “A member of our team has reached out to address their concerns and apologize.”