Delta Passenger Baraka Kanaan Forced to Crawl Down Aisle, Across Tarmac to Wheelchair
A Hawaii man says Delta Air Lines forced him to crawl down the aisle of its planes and across the tarmac to reach his wheelchair several times during a trip in July 2012, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday.
Baraka Kanaan, a nonprofit head and former philosophy professor, says one of the incidents happened last summer when he was en route to Massachusetts from Hawaii via a series of Delta Air Lines flights.
Though a car accident in 2000 left him unable to walk and entirely dependent on a wheelchair, aisle chairs, and lifts, he says Delta representatives assured him weeks before his flight “that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability.”
Yet when Kanaan arrived in Massachusetts, the complaint alleges Delta had none of the equipment needed to help him off the airplane. When he asked what his options were, a flight attendant replied, “I don’t know, but we can’t get you off the plane,” according to a copy of the suit provided to The Huffington Post.
Kanaan, in his best suit, then had to “[crawl] hand over hand through the main cabin and down a narrow flight of stairs and across the tarmac to his wheelchair,” an experience he says caused “great physical and emotional suffering,” the complaint states.
On his return trip, Kanaan says he had to repeat the same procedure, as the equipment was still unavailable. However, this time the airline offered to place cardboard beneath him “so that his clothes wouldn’t get dirty,” the document states. In both incidents, he alleges Delta employees made no effort to try and obtain equipment from other airlines to help him deplane properly.
Kanaan’s complaints to the airline resulted in a $100 voucher and an offer of 25,000 SkyMiles, which the suit says he declined, fearing his next Delta flight would leave him, again, on his hands and knees.