United Airlines: Disabled Passenger On His Way To Honeymoon Was Told To Leave His Mobility Device Behind
United Airlines passengers line up at a check-in counter at O'Hare Airport on June 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

United Airlines: Disabled Passenger On His Way To Honeymoon Was Told To Leave His Mobility Device Behind

Since Dr. David Dao was violently removed from United Airlines Flight 3411 earlier this month, other United Airlines passengers have come forward with stories about their nightmarish experiences with the airline. One United Airlines passenger was allegedly threatened with handcuffs and another said he was stung by a scorpion aboard a United flight.

The latest of these horrific incidents involves a United Airlines passenger with a disability, a honeymoon that was nearly ruined, and a bizarre threat of arrest.

In a Medium post titled “United Airlines made me ABANDON my mobility device at the gate before my honeymoon,” Trey Harris, a former worker at Amazon and Google, recounted how an epic failure by United Airlines staff led to him and his new husband almost missing their flight and their honeymoon cruise, and later had him practically unable to get around said cruise. According to the United Airlines passenger, this all occurred despite both the TSA and United Airlines itself having already cleared his mobility device, a Segway miniPro.

Harris suffers from spondylitis, a form of autoimmune spinal arthritis that often makes it difficult for him to walk. He uses a cane and a Segway miniPro to get around, and needed the latter so that he can safely move around the cruise with his husband.

“Last month, @United Airlines made me abandon my previously-approved, DOT & TSA-allowed mobility device. At the gate at Newark Liberty airport. On the way to my honeymoon cruise.”

According to Harris, given the recent safety issues with Samsung phones and hoverboards, he had done his research and made sure that he could carry the Segway into the plane. He called the Special Needs desk of United Airlines and explained his condition and the need to bring his mobility device onboard. He also gave them the Segway’s specs.

United Airlines’ Special Needs desk gave him the A-OK to pre-board and stow the device in the overhead bin. They also assured him that they had made a note in his itinerary and told him to give them a call if he runs into trouble during boarding.

Next, the United Airlines passenger spoke to the TSA’s disability services desk, which also assured him that he could carry the Segway into the plane. Like the United Airlines desk, the TSA told him they had made a notation and that he should call them if he has any trouble getting through airport security.

But on the day of his flight, Harris was told by United Airlines staff that he couldn’t board the plane with his mobility device. Harris called the airline’s Special Needs desk, who verified that his Segway could be brought aboard. They called a TSA manager, who arrived at the gate and confirmed that the TSA has no problem with the device. Still, United Airlines would not let Harris board his flight with the Segway.

He and his husband had no choice but to get on the flight and leave the device behind. During their honeymoon cruise, the United Airlines passenger had to use an unfamiliar and unsafe rented stroller to get around.

Despite having limited access to excursions and getting into several accidents, Harris insists that he still enjoyed the cruise. This despite the fact that midway through the cruise, he received several calls informing him that he could be arrested upon his return for abandoning his Segway at the airport.

Fortunately, Harris was not arrested and he even managed to get his Segway back.

“I’ve since done more research and can find no reason whatsoever that this should have happened,” he wrote.

“I did everything I was supposed to. I had the policies and regulations behind me. I’ve sent a letter — a real, paper letter, since I hear that gets better results — to United Airlines, but so far have heard nothing.”

“I don’t care if United compensates me, not even for the scooter rental,” he added.

“An apology would be nice, but I’m not expecting miracles.”

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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