My daughters words witnessing her mother’s treatment

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May 27, 2019
2
0
48
Once arriving at the Orlando International Airport , my mother, her friend and I inform the attendant outside that we need wheelchair service , Southwest airline. He informs us he makes a call and it’ll be a twenty minute wait. After fifteen minutes, I take it upon myself to get a wheelchair after asking someone from floor two where to get one. I retrieved a wheelchair from level three and went back to floor 1 and got my mom and her friend from outside and set to head for security screening. We were directed by an unknown airline official that my mom can get her gate number from the info desk and then there’s a handicap wheelchair line to get through security. I follow his directions. I received our boarding passes back with gate 105 written on them and she said I was good to go. I get my mom and her friend through security which was indeed a hassle. My mother has paralysis on her right side making it extremely difficult to take a simple baby step and her best friend accompanying her has terminal cancer and uses a walker. We get to gate 105 with time to spare . I go to McDonald’s to get us cheeseburgers. On my way back, I see my mother... standing ... at the counter , waving her arm at me. I rush over and she informs me that we’re at the wrong gate. I hurry her into her chair and rush her over to the correct gate with almost no time to spare. Leaving behind Hope(my moms best friend) who cannot keep up with me literally sprinting through the crowds to make sure my mom gets on her flight. We arrive at the correct gate and theres two attendants. One middle-aged blonde woman and an older balding gentlemen. They say everyone on this flight is accounted for and we must be at the wrong gate. I read the screen and know for a fact we were at the right one and I hand the blonde woman our boarding passes and she brings them to a different counter and then says two minutes later that we weren’t checked in. Side note: Since my mother is disabled/ handicapped, she has priority seating and if we were directed to the correct gate, they check us in well before boarding the plane even starts. This is not the first time we’ve traveled by plane. Anyway, the man at the Gate entrance who I referred to as a gentleman was nothing short of disrespectful and he didn’t want to see us get on the plane. As I’m speaking to my mother, about the inconvenience occurring at that very moment. He says over the radio “ I’m about to close it now, they’re over here yacking at me”. I inform my mother of what he just said and say “oh no they’re not without getting my mom on”. He heard me and responded to me directly “oh I’m not gonna close it? “ and proceeds to close to door leading us to the plane. Finally a supervisor arrives who was more polite and only tries to hurry us on the plane because we were obviously holding it up. ( he was doing his job with the correct attitude and service) . All the while, the rude attendant is still bashing me and mother as if he knew the situation or us as human beings. He tried to act civil once the supervisor came up but me and my mother were done being ridiculed by the man and demanded he stop speaking about us and to us. He finally shut up. The supervisor opened the doors for us and we were finally on our way but because we were last to be seated. I’m two rows behind my mother and she also separated from her friend, Hope. This all happening because my mother was not accounted for or given the services federal law grants . Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a law that makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers because of their disability.



A person with a disability may have a physical or mental impairment that impacts a major life activity - such as walking, hearing, or breathing. This may be on a permanent or temporary basis. Airlines must accommodate the needs of air travelers with disabilities.

The Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing the ACAA, which applies to all flights to, from, or within the United States.

Airlines are also required to provide passengers with disabilities many types of assistance, including wheelchair or other guided assistance to board, deplane, or connect to another flight; seating accommodation assistance that meets passengers’ disability-related needs; and assistance with the loading and stowing of assistive devices.



The simple fact of the matter is that if I was not there to make sure my mom got on that plane, she wouldn’t have due to the lack of assistance that is required to be given to anyone with a disability.



DOT has developed a series of disability-related training materials to assist passengers traveling with disabilities better understand their rights. To learn more about traveling on an aircraft with a disability please select one of the topics below:

• Wheelchairs and Other Assistive Devices

• Assistance Moving Throughout the Airport

• Seating Accommodations

• Service Animals (includes emotional support animals)

If you feel that an airline has discriminated against you on the basis of your disability, which includes not providing you required accommodations, you may file a complaint with the DOT.



When a passenger with a disability requests assistance from an airline to move through the airport, the airline is required to promptly provide the requested assistance. This assistance may be guide assistance for an individual who is blind or wheelchair assistance for an individual with a mobility impairment. To receive such assistance, the passenger must self-identify to airline staff at the airport as the person with a disability needing this service.



Airlines are required to provide you with assistance in a timely fashion after you self-identify to airport personnel as an individual who needs assistance.



If you believe your rights under the Air Carrier Access Act are being or have been violated, ask to speak with a Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). A CRO is the airline’s expert on disability accommodation issues. Airlines are required to make one available to you, at no cost, in person at the airport or by telephone during the times they are operating.
 
Apr 9, 2019
41
44
65
Did you speak to an airline employee? You say "attendant"outside. I have had to get myself to the airline check in or ticket counter in order to get assistance, and it has been prompt. I don't know what the gate issue was. The destination is always posted at the gate, along with gate change information if that is necessary, so I don't know what happened at your first gate.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,424
1,825
NAPLES FL or Denver CO
Your story is too long.
Hard to get through all the blather.
Sounds like you didn’t arrive early enough to get the services you needed.
Wheelchairs don’t just magically appear the minute you need one.
Gate changes happen frequently /even last minute - so you need to affirm the destination and flight # on the board as well as the gate number.
Why didn’t Hope request a wheelchair as well ?
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,597
8,439
50
It sounds as if it was a stressful flight experience.

I am not a lawyer -- but this does not sound like an outright violation of any disability law.

The airline said it would be a 20 minute wait. After 15 minutes it was decided that no one wanted to wait, and so the daughter decided to do it. As there was no concern at this point about missing the flight, why not wait the extra 5 minutes? When my disabled relatives traveled and needed wheelchair assistance, they arrived early and were prepared to wait -- sometimes there was a wait, sometimes not. I do not know if anyone would claim that a 20 minute wait is unreasonable.

Gates frequently change. One should not rely on the boarding pass or even the app (may refresh into a cache of data) but instead the monitors at the airport and the information at the gate.

Is there a reason you never checked the monitors?

How is discrimination that you were not at the correct gate and not able to board first?

the attendant should not have been rude, but all he saw was late passengers who had time to go to McDonalds but did not check the overhead monitor for gate information.

Don't the boarding passes say something like Gate X (subject to change)?
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,925
4,037
Once arriving at the Orlando International Airport , my mother, her friend and I inform the attendant outside that we need wheelchair service , Southwest airline. He informs us he makes a call and it’ll be a twenty minute wait. After fifteen minutes, I take it upon myself to get a wheelchair after asking someone from floor two where to get one. I retrieved a wheelchair from level three and went back to floor 1 and got my mom and her friend from outside and set to head for security screening. We were directed by an unknown airline official that my mom can get her gate number from the info desk and then there’s a handicap wheelchair line to get through security. I follow his directions. I received our boarding passes back with gate 105 written on them and she said I was good to go. I get my mom and her friend through security which was indeed a hassle. My mother has paralysis on her right side making it extremely difficult to take a simple baby step and her best friend accompanying her has terminal cancer and uses a walker. We get to gate 105 with time to spare . I go to McDonald’s to get us cheeseburgers. On my way back, I see my mother... standing ... at the counter , waving her arm at me. I rush over and she informs me that we’re at the wrong gate. I hurry her into her chair and rush her over to the correct gate with almost no time to spare. Leaving behind Hope(my moms best friend) who cannot keep up with me literally sprinting through the crowds to make sure my mom gets on her flight. We arrive at the correct gate and theres two attendants. One middle-aged blonde woman and an older balding gentlemen. They say everyone on this flight is accounted for and we must be at the wrong gate. I read the screen and know for a fact we were at the right one and I hand the blonde woman our boarding passes and she brings them to a different counter and then says two minutes later that we weren’t checked in. Side note: Since my mother is disabled/ handicapped, she has priority seating and if we were directed to the correct gate, they check us in well before boarding the plane even starts. This is not the first time we’ve traveled by plane. Anyway, the man at the Gate entrance who I referred to as a gentleman was nothing short of disrespectful and he didn’t want to see us get on the plane. As I’m speaking to my mother, about the inconvenience occurring at that very moment. He says over the radio “ I’m about to close it now, they’re over here yacking at me”. I inform my mother of what he just said and say “oh no they’re not without getting my mom on”. He heard me and responded to me directly “oh I’m not gonna close it? “ and proceeds to close to door leading us to the plane. Finally a supervisor arrives who was more polite and only tries to hurry us on the plane because we were obviously holding it up. ( he was doing his job with the correct attitude and service) . All the while, the rude attendant is still bashing me and mother as if he knew the situation or us as human beings. He tried to act civil once the supervisor came up but me and my mother were done being ridiculed by the man and demanded he stop speaking about us and to us. He finally shut up. The supervisor opened the doors for us and we were finally on our way but because we were last to be seated. I’m two rows behind my mother and she also separated from her friend, Hope. This all happening because my mother was not accounted for or given the services federal law grants . Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a law that makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers because of their disability.



A person with a disability may have a physical or mental impairment that impacts a major life activity - such as walking, hearing, or breathing. This may be on a permanent or temporary basis. Airlines must accommodate the needs of air travelers with disabilities.

The Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing the ACAA, which applies to all flights to, from, or within the United States.

Airlines are also required to provide passengers with disabilities many types of assistance, including wheelchair or other guided assistance to board, deplane, or connect to another flight; seating accommodation assistance that meets passengers’ disability-related needs; and assistance with the loading and stowing of assistive devices.



The simple fact of the matter is that if I was not there to make sure my mom got on that plane, she wouldn’t have due to the lack of assistance that is required to be given to anyone with a disability.



DOT has developed a series of disability-related training materials to assist passengers traveling with disabilities better understand their rights. To learn more about traveling on an aircraft with a disability please select one of the topics below:

• Wheelchairs and Other Assistive Devices

• Assistance Moving Throughout the Airport

• Seating Accommodations

• Service Animals (includes emotional support animals)

If you feel that an airline has discriminated against you on the basis of your disability, which includes not providing you required accommodations, you may file a complaint with the DOT.



When a passenger with a disability requests assistance from an airline to move through the airport, the airline is required to promptly provide the requested assistance. This assistance may be guide assistance for an individual who is blind or wheelchair assistance for an individual with a mobility impairment. To receive such assistance, the passenger must self-identify to airline staff at the airport as the person with a disability needing this service.



Airlines are required to provide you with assistance in a timely fashion after you self-identify to airport personnel as an individual who needs assistance.



If you believe your rights under the Air Carrier Access Act are being or have been violated, ask to speak with a Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). A CRO is the airline’s expert on disability accommodation issues. Airlines are required to make one available to you, at no cost, in person at the airport or by telephone during the times they are operating.

The mistake the real mistake I see here is YOU decide Mcdonalds was more important than being at the gate and figuring out the gate had changed. Sounds like you boarded the flight and the party got to your destination.
Your letter is ridiculously long and I hope you did not send that to the airline. It’s ok to Vent here but a letter like that will end up in the trash. If you want to effectively complain be brief and polite. Leaving accusations of rude behavior and emotions out.

In the future get to the airport and hour earlier (2 hrs min). You cut it to close and then decided fast food was important.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,597
8,439
50
What this all boils down to:

The airport/airline was going to provide you with the services of a wheelchair attendant and wheelchair in 20 minutes but you decided not to wait and after 15 minutes found a wheelchair and went off on your own. 20 minutes at a busy airport can be construed as a timely fashion.

In most airports there is a seating area for people to wait for wheelchairs and attendants because... there can be a wait.

Then there are complaints about finding the right TSA line for the disabled. Perhaps waiting 5 minutes for an attendant would have saved time on the confusion.

When someone needing early boarding does not present themselves at the correct gate at boarding time that person may be taken off the passenger list. A reasonable accommodation does not include waiting around to start boarding for missing disabled passengers or holding up the flight because of a passenger going to the wrong gate and getting fast food.

As someone who has traveled before, there should be an awareness that gates change, sometimes even after checking in and getting a boarding pass. That is why there are so many monitors at the airport.
 
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Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,145
29,501
New York
www.promalvacations.com
When you booked the tickets did you call Southwest and have them note on the reservations you needed a wheelchair? Had you done that you might not have had to scour the airport for a wheelchair.

What time was your flight and what time did you arrive at the airport?

The airport also certainly must have announced the gate change. When you arrived at the gate- didn’t the gate sign have the flight number on the screen? If the gate had been changed, the screen would have had the wrong flight number and city shown.

It sounds like you really arrived too late and didn’t listen to announcements for a gate change. Perhaps they made the announcements while you were at McDonalds?
 
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Feb 12, 2019
581
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Why didn't you wait the full 20 minutes they told you it would take for the wheelchair to arrive?

Did you arrange the need for a wheelchair ahead of time with the airline?
 
Feb 3, 2019
209
427
"Shunt" appears to be the mother, not the daughter, based on her other post about how she has had repeated bad experiences at Disney over both days she and her party have been there.

I have no idea why she would post this complaint from a third-person perspective rather than giving us her own account, but based on the tone and content of both posts, it sounds like "Shunt" and her party havem any expectations that aren't being met.

Given the lack of any proposal for a desired resolution here, it's unclear any advice we might offer will be received well...
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,145
29,501
New York
www.promalvacations.com
"Shunt" appears to be the mother, not the daughter, based on her other post about how she has had repeated bad experiences at Disney over both days she and her party have been there.

I have no idea why she would post this complaint from a third-person perspective rather than giving us her own account, but based on the tone and content of both posts, it sounds like "Shunt" and her party havem any expectations that aren't being met.

Given the lack of any proposal for a desired resolution here, it's unclear any advice we might offer will be received well...
I have to agree with perhaps unrealistic expectations. If they had added information to the booking that a wheelchair was needed this might not have happened. The airports don’t have unlimited wheelchairs and attendants sitting around, they need to know in advance when and where they need to have people waiting with chairs.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,169
13,524
San Francisco
This is an astonishing post. I can't even figure out what you need from us. Can someone help you make a list of the facts in chronological order? We're here to assist, but we need to understand exactly what happened.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
5,597
8,439
50
I have to agree with perhaps unrealistic expectations. If they had added information to the booking that a wheelchair was needed this might not have happened. The airports don’t have unlimited wheelchairs and attendants sitting around, they need to know in advance when and where they need to have people waiting with chairs.

Even with alerting the airlines of the need for a wheelchair, there can be a wait. People arrive for their flights at different times and sometimes there is not a person immediately available. Many airports have dedicated waiting areas for the disability services.

Now in this case I cannot figure out if a wheelchair was requested in advance or not.

But a 20 minute wait at a busy airport does not sound unreasonable.
 
Dec 19, 2014
843
2,980
49
Perhaps, I've been biased by just after responding to your Disney post, but it seems like you have unrealistic expectations of traveling with a disability.

1) The law is to protect the rights of the disabled traveler, not to guarantee VIP service. Put it bluntly, you requested a wheelchair, they acknowledged your request and called for a wheelchair. 20 minutes at MCO is a reasonable time. I fail to see where the airline or the airport has violated any law. They were prepared to accommodate your request and you chose to bypass this.

2) Clearing security at MCO is a hassle, wheelchair or no wheelchair. In fact, MCO is infamous for long and frustrating security checkpoint for ALL travelers. It does not discriminate!

3) When you arrived at gate 105, did you verify that you were at the correct gate? As others have said, airline gates change all the time, and sometimes more than once.

4) When you did arrive at the correct gate, you were too late for pre-boarding. To utilize pre-boarding, you have to arrive in time for pre-boarding, at least 30 minutes ahead of departure time. Your mother wasn't discriminated against. You weren't present at the time the service was offered. Had you arrived at the correct gate, your mother would have been allowed to pre-board in compliance with the law.

Nevertheless, if you still believe that you have a valid complaint, contact Southwest's customer care team. Realistic expectations would be a flight voucher for $25-50, but that essentially is a goodwill gesture. Likewise, you can file a DOT complaint if you still aren't satisfied. I'm not an attorney, but based on the facts you have presented, you likely won't get any further satisfaction.