July 27, 2013
Delta Forced Paralyzed Man To Crawl Off Plane, Suit Alleges

Delta is being sued by a passenger who is paralyzed, and the man alleged that a series of slip-ups resulted in the airline's demand he crawl off a flight because equipment to otherwise allow him off the plane was unavailable.

The claims Delta made a paralyzed man crawl off a plane were detailed in a lawsuit filed by Hawaii resident D. Baraka Kanaan on July 23 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Kanaan is suing Delta and 20 individuals in relation to alleged incidents on two flights last year from Hawaii to Massachusetts.

One of the incidents occurred on July 26 of last year, the Houston Chronicle reports, and Kanaan says that making prior arrangements with Delta about getting on and off planes due to his physical limitations did not prevent the horrifying situation.

The paper reports:

"Several weeks before the flight, Kanaan spoke to a Delta customer service representative about needing a lift to get on the plane and an aisle chair to get to his seat, the suit states. The representative assured him that he would be accommodated, according to the complaint... After his scheduled flight was canceled because of weather, he was booked on another flight the next day. When he arrived in Nantucket, a flight attendant told him the airline did not have an aisle chair or a lift to get him off the plane to retrieve his wheelchair."

The site says that Kanaan quotes the flight attendant as saying she didn't know any other options aside from crawling off the plane, and added the airline was otherwise unable to help him disembark.

Amazingly, Kanaan says the situation was exactly the same on a return trip, and Chron.com adds:

"Despite assurances it would be there, the complaint states that when boarding began the needed aisle chair and lift were unavailable but a flight attendant told him they could put down a piece of cardboard so his clothes wouldn't get dirty."

After allegedly forcing the paralyzed man to crawl off two planes, Kanaan says he was offered 25,000 bonus miles as a concession, which he declined. He seeks "compensatory and punitive damages" in his suit.