A passenger with a disability reports experiencing “considerable discomfort” when he was made to crawl to the front of an Air Canada aircraft in order to exit the flight because there was no narrow aisle chair available.
Rodney Hodgins, a 49-year-old individual who uses a wheelchair, expressed his desire for Air Canada to revise their policy to ensure that there is always assistance available for individuals with disabilities upon arrival at their destination. This comes after his unpleasant experience during a flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas in August 2023.
Mr. Hodgins, who is from British Columbia, has spastic cerebral palsy. He stated that he is used to traveling in a wheelchair and had modified his motorized wheelchair to fit in the cargo area before the flight.
Rodney and his spouse, Deanna, were informed upon arriving in Las Vegas to commemorate their wedding anniversary that there would be no assistance or aisle seat available for Rodney to be transported to and from his seat on a narrower wheelchair.
The pair stated that they didn’t want to hold up other travelers, so Rodney managed to pull himself to his wheelchair 12 rows away while Deanna assisted him.
Mr. Hodgins informed CBC News that it was a difficult decision for him to make initially.
“My legs were in pain and I felt terrible for three days during my vacation.”
I believed that they were not concerned about me and only wanted me to leave the plane.
He mentioned that Air Canada customer service reached out to him and offered a $2,000 flight voucher for future trips.
The airline has announced that they utilize a third-party specialist for wheelchair assistance in Las Vegas. After conducting an investigation into the cause of this significant service error, they will be reassessing their partnerships with other providers of Mobility Assistance services in Las Vegas.
The Independent has reached out to Air Canada for additional input.
This is not the first instance where an individual using a wheelchair has been abandoned on an airplane by an airline.
In May 2023, Adrian Keogh experienced feelings of embarrassment when he was required to crawl down the stairs of a Ryanair flight due to an unacceptable delay in receiving assistance.