If once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a pattern, what do we say after the 15,000th time? It’s high time many airline companies answer that question, especially in regards to the countless wheelchairs and mobility scooters that have been broken, damaged, lost or stolen on their watch. And the disabled people that suffer the consequences.
Emily Ladau is a disability rights activist, author of Demystifying Disability, and a wheelchair user. On January 25, 2023, she shared a video entitled, “Flying Has Become Hell for Passengers with Wheelchairs” on her Facebook page, which documented how a typical flight plays out for her as a wheelchair user. As more than 15,000 wheelchairs have been broken, damaged or lost since reporting became mandatory in 2018, Emily knew it would inevitably happen to her.
It did. And now, more than a month after the airline damaged her wheelchair, it is still not fixed and is being held together by duct tape.
Wheelchairs are more than a mobility tool. They are freedom, independence, and as one woman so aptly put it: “It’s like breaking our legs” when they get damaged.
It’s time to stop the discrimination and the mistreatment of disabled people. It’s time we begin treating them and their freedom-giving equipment with the respect and care they deserve.
I encourage you to watch the video, share it with your family and friends, and join in the fight to end this abhorrent discrimination. It’s about time.
Don’t you agree?
You can buy Emily’s book, Demystifying Disability here.