Man With Disabilities Crawls Off Plane After Airline Fails to Assist Him | NBC4 Washington

Man With Disabilities Crawls Off Plane After Airline Fails to Assist Him

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    News4's Chris Gordon talks to a man who says he was left stranded on a United Airlines plane at Reagan National Airport Tuesday and had to crawl to use the bathroom while he waited for help. (Published Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015)

    A man with disabilities crawled off a plane at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, Tuesday night after the airline failed to provide an aisle chair and someone to help him get off the plane.

    When no one from United Airlines came, and needing to use the restroom, DArcee Neal crawled up the aisle from the middle of the plane to the doorway.

    "I mean, it's humiliating," he said. "No one should have to do what I did."

    Ironically, Neal was returning from San Francisco where he had a speaking engagement about accessible transportation.

    "Half the time, I feel like airlines treat people with disabilities as a secondary concern," Neal said.

    United Airlines said it regrets the delay in providing an aisle chair to assist Neal.

    This type of problem is happening too often on various airlines, The National Disability Rights Network said. The Air Carrier Access Act guarantees consistent service to passengers with disabilities, but complaints are up 9 percent in the past year.

    "In 2014 here were over 27,500 complaints in reference to things like this, so it is not uncommon," said Dara Baldwin of the National Disability Rights Network. "I hate to say that."

    Lawyer Amy Scherer said she also has been left waiting on an aircraft, and one time her travel companions had to lift her and carry her off the plane.

    "We got tired of waiting that long," she said.

    Advocates for people with disabilities who travel are collecting stories to determine what progress has been made under the Air Carrier Access Act and what still needs to be done.