Disturbing video shows wheelchair flying & flipping down American Airlines ramp

Investigations into American Airlines have been launched following disturbing staff behavior caught on camera by an onlooking passenger.

On Sunday, Haeley Dyrdahl posted a video on TikTok that quickly made the rounds online, of airport luggage attendants offloading wheelchairs in a less than careful manner.

'After I saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs I had to get it on film,' shared Haeley Dyrdahl

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‘After I saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs I had to get it on film,’ shared Haeley DyrdahlCredit: wpbf
The footage shows a worker at the top of a luggage ramp putting a wheelchair on the ramp and letting it slide down the incline to flip over the end and onto the ground

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The footage shows a worker at the top of a luggage ramp putting a wheelchair on the ramp and letting it slide down the incline to flip over the end and onto the groundCredit: wpbf

“After I saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs I had to get it on film. That is not what I’d call “handling with care” for someone’s mobility device….” read the video caption.

The footage shows a worker at the top of a luggage ramp putting a wheelchair on the ramp and letting it slide down the incline.

The mobility device then flipped over the end of the ramp and crashed to the ground.

On the ground, another worker is seen walking over to the wheelchair, picking it up, and loading it on a caddy.

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Viewers quickly began to tag American Airlines in the video, calling out the behavior as unacceptable.

“These chairs cost upwards of $3k plus. They aren’t easily replaceable and insurance only covers new chairs every 5 years,” explained one user.

“More people need to see this. The right people need to see this @American Airlines,” tagged another viewer.

“As a wheelchair user, seeing this will stop me from ever traveling out of fear this will happen @American Airlines,” claimed one potential traveler.

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In a statement to CNN, the TikToker revealed that she saw the workers also treating suitcases with this level of carelessness.

Dyrdahl works with families who need wheelchairs and has had them “express concerns with how their wheelchair would be handled during travel.”

“After seeing this happen firsthand a couple times in a row, I was very sad to learn just how valid their concerns are,” she said.

American Airlines issued a statement following the traction Dyrdahl’s video gained.

“We recognize how important it is to support the independence of customers with disabilities by ensuring the proper care of mobility devices throughout their journey with us,” the statement read.

“This visual is deeply concerning and we are gathering more details so that we can address them with our team. We will continue to work hard to improve our handling of assistive devices across our network.”

American Airlines also said that they will be educating and training their employees on moving accessibility aids in addition to installing wheelchair movers and other hardware.

In a post on X, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the department’s investigation into the matter.

“This is totally unacceptable. We’ll be investigating. This is exactly why we are taking action to protect passengers who use wheelchairs. Everyone deserves to travel safely and with dignity,” read his post.

 Data released by the Department of Transportation found that American Airlines mishandled 226 wheelchairs and scooters – a rate of 2.24 per 100 they handled on planes in August alone.

This shows an increase in mishandled mobility aids, as in 2022 the rate was 2 per 100.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who uses a wheelchair, called the video “shocking, but not surprising based on my own travel experiences or those of anyone who relies on a mobility device to live their lives fully.”

“Since I passed a law requiring public disclosure of how often airlines damage mobility devices, data shows that far too many wheelchair users land at their destinations only to find their wheelchairs broken, often irreparably,” Duckworth said in a statement.

“It’s completely unacceptable to treat critical medical devices like this.”

In September, Duckworth and Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, introduced the Mobility Aids on Board Improve Lives and Empower All (MOBILE) Act.

“Though DOT is currently required to report the number of wheelchairs damaged each month, it does not evaluate data on the frequency or types of damage to manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs or scooters,” explained a statement from the sponsoring lawmakers.

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Part of the proposal imposes: “If in-flight, in-wheelchair seating is determined to be technically feasible, (the secretary should) assess the economic and financial feasibility of accommodating passengers with their wheelchairs in the main cabin during flight.”

American Airlines did not immediately respond to request for comment by the U.S. Sun.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/670464304/autZDIhHW5RKtPzu?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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