D. Baraaka Kanaan, a 40-year old parapalegic, is suing Delta Air Lines after being forced to crawl on and off flights. According to ABC News, Kanaan is suing because he says he “endured physical and extreme emotional suffering” from the incidents. The first incident took place July 27, 2012 on his initial flight from Maui, Hawaii to Nantucket, Massachusetts. Two days later, when Kanaan returned to Hawaii from Massachusetts, he was again subject to the questionable treatment.
Kanaan claims that he called the airline weeks in advance and they told him that he would need an aisle chair to get him to his seat and a lift to get on the plane. After crawling off the plane upon his arrival in Nantucket as other passengers watched, he was assured that they would have the proper equipment to help him onto the plane. Instead, according to the Daily Mail, a Delta attendant offered to put a piece of cardboard down so Kanaan would not ruin his clothes. To add insult to injury, the airline gave the former college professor a $100 voucher and 25,000 of Delta’s SkyMiles. Kanaan refused the offer and pressed on with his lawsuit.
This is not the first time that Delta has had issues with disabled passengers. In December 2012, ABC also reported the story of Marine Lance Cpl. Christian Brown. Brown, a double amputee and Afghan war veteran, was hastily wheeled down the aisle as first class passengers tried to give him their seats. However, the attendant insisted that Brown sit in the back because the plane was about to take off.
The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines and airports to “provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities by using ramps, mechanical lifts, or other suitable devices where level-entry boarding by loading bridge or mobile lounge is not available.” This applies to any airplane with a seating capacity of 31 or more passengers.