Airplane Flying At Sunset

Dropped Manual Chair-$2000 Damage

Having flown for many years while using a manual sophisticated wheelchair for mobility, I have seen ignorance and rough handling of manual chairs but managed to get my own chair back in one piece each time. My time was apparently up! Upon flying to LaGuardia for work meetings in September, I exited the aircraft strapped to a shabby aisle chair after a long day only to notice my Ti-Lite titanium chair was banged up as never before. Set upon its side with one of the main wheels facing upward, that wheel wobbled badly (one-inch side-to-side wobble where 1/64th wobble might have been the norm for a one year old TiLite) And, atop the opposite side came was a fresh and very deep gouge into the aluminum. My chair had obviously been dropped from a great height warping one wheel, bending the hardened steel axel and also bending the titanium axle tube. Me thinks it came sailing off of the top of the baggage escalator onto the tarmac. Did anyone even mention it???? Nope! So, after a long day and travel for next-day meetings, off to the American Airlines baggage complaint office I went. I was scheduled to be made whole, with appropriate repairs to my chair, five weeks after the AA baggage handlers treated my personal mobility device upon which I rely heavily like so much spare junk……

Bill Fertig, Director, Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center, VA