A disabled woman flew from Atlanta to Phoenix to spend Christmas with her daughter, but when she got in a wheelchair on the jetbridge in Phoenix after arriving, she was just left there. About 20 minutes later the last crewmember off the aircraft pushed her up to the gate finally, and left here there. Where she waited, and waited. And since it was the last flight of the night there, employees – who saw her there – just turned out the lights and left.
- There’s a shortage of workers. One area that’s manifested itself is in lack of workers with the low-paying contractors who push wheelchairs in airports, though low pay is often supplemented by tips that can total far more than wages.
- But that’s not all that happened here. No one at Delta Air Lines, seeing a woman left behind in a wheelchair, seemed to care. I’ve heard plenty of stories of flight attendants pushing wheelchairs out of compassion for passengers, but here everyone at Delta and in the airport just said to themselves, not my problem.
The passenger “was abandoned in the dark in her wheelchair” after landing. Her daughter was waiting at baggage claim for her. The woman begged her daughter to come get her from the gate but without a ticket she couldn’t clear security to do so.
She landed around 11 p.m., and was helped off the plane and into a wheelchair, as expected. “She said, ‘You just sit here and someone will get you,'” said James.
But James says she spent 20 minutes sitting at the end of the jetway by herself. …until the last flight attendants had finished cleaning it. They then pushed her up to the gate, where she apparently had to wait even longer. But then, she says, the gate agent left at the end of her shift.
“And turned the light off, you know, and I’m like, ‘Why you putting me in the dark?'” James said. “And nobody else was there,” said Solomon. “She’s sitting there alone in the terminal.” …”So many workers there and everyone just dismissed her sitting there in the wheelchair,” she said. “You should say, ‘There’s no more flights here, we’re gonna go ahead and close this terminal, can I help you with something?'”
Someone did shoe up to push her wheelchair 40 minutes after arrival.