Disabled man who was forced to CRAWL off Delta plane, down a flight of stairs... and do the same on his flight back from Hawaii vacation wins a 'substantial' payout
Disabled Baraka Kanaan was made to crawl off Delta Airlines plane - twice
Two separate incidents - to and from Nantucket - took place in 2012
Mr Kanaan forced to walk 'on hands and knees' as there was no equipment
Former professor was partially paralyzed in a car accident in 2000
By Sara Malm
Published: 05:19 EST, 22 April 2014 | Updated: 06:39 EST, 22 April 2014
A disabled former college professor has won a lawsuit against an airline that forced him to crawl off a plane and onto the tarmac on his hands and knees - twice
Mr Baraka Kanaan, who is partially paralysed, was travelling from his home on Maui, Hawaii, to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts with Delta Airlines in July 2012.
Upon arrival, Delta Airlines refused to accommodate Mr Kanaan’s disability, making him crawl down the aisle, down a flight of steps and across the tarmac - and then made him do the same thing on his flight back home.
Delta Airlines have now settled the case with Mr Kanaan, the terms of which are confidential, but believed to be substantial, Hawaii News Now reports.
Mr. Kanaan, who suffers partial paralysis of his legs stemming from a car accident in 2000, claims he called a Delta customer service representative several weeks before his scheduled trip.
He told a representative that he would need a lift to get onto the airplane and an aisle chair to get him to his seat, which the representative said would not be a problem.
Upon arrival in Nantucket, he was told by flight attendants that the airline did not have an aisle chair to get him out of his seat, nor a lift to get him off the plane.
When he asked what he was supposed to do, Mr. Kanaan claims he was told, 'I don't know, but we can't get you off the plane,' according to the complaint.
Sued: Mr Kanaan claims he was told there was no equipment to help him on and off the plane on the tarmac at Nantucket Island airport in 2012
Simultaneously, Mr. Kanaan claims, he could see a lift available at an adjacent gate.
Mr. Kanaan, while wearing his 'best suit,' was then forced to crawl 'hand-over-hand' down the aisle, down a flight of stairs and across the tarmac to his wheelchair - without any assistance from the crew -as other passengers watched.
The incident, he claims, caused 'great physical and emotional suffering.'
‘I can feel literally my spine was like someone had a sledgehammer and they were pounding a ten-inch spike in my sacral, hammering away,' he told Hawaii News Now last year.
'My thoracic, I could hear pops and clicks.'
‘My initial feeling was absolute shock, kind of like Twilight Zone feeling.’
Before heading home to Hawaii, Mr. Kanaan called Delta to report the incident, and to make sure the equipment would be available for his return flight in an attempt to avoid another humiliating ordeal.
When Mr. Kanaan got to the airport he was yet again told the chair and lift were unavailable.
A flight attendant then offered to put a piece of cardboard on the ground so Mr. Kanaan's clothes wouldn't get dirty as he crawled across the ground, he claims in the suit.
Once he returned home, Mr. Kanaan says Delta offered him 25,000 'sky miles' and a $100 voucher. He refused the offer, however, in fear that any future flights might again have him crawling on his hands and knees.
For any airplane with a seating capacity of 31 or more passengers, 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.'
A similar incident happened in 2008, when a woman with muscular dystrophy was forced to crawl off of two separate Delta flights.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2610181/Disabled-man-forced-CRAWL-Delta-plane-flight-stairs-tarmac-agreed-substantial-settlement.html#ixzz2zeOixmjj