Airline staff caught throwing wheelchairs to the ground

A “horrible” video showing airport baggage handlers throwing a wheelchair down a ramp – and to the ground – has been met with anger by social media users.

American Airlines is under scrutiny after the footage was captured at Miami Airport, with the airline’s logo printed across the high-vis jackets of the employees in the video. The operator called the incident “deeply concerning”.

The clip, uploaded to TikTok by @haez93, shows a wheelchair pushed down a ramp before catapulting off the end and hitting the ground.

The caption also claims this wasn’t the only mobility aid treated in this fashion.

“Dang, after I saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs I had to get it on film,” it states, adding: “That is not what I’d call ‘handling with care’ for someone’s mobility device.”

The video has been viewed more than 1.4 million times, attracting almost 5,000 comments.

One user wrote: “This makes me absolutely rageful. My sister’s wheelchair is her lifeline to the able world, American Airlines are you kidding me?”

Another said that when they worked for a different airline they “always had to carry them down the steps, no exceptions”, while one comment read: “I SCREAMED. That’s someone’s $20k legs they just broke. Damn.”

“This is horrible. Don’t they realise that person can remain completely incapable of going places. Sh*t people,” wrote another.

Many others shared their own experiences, either travelling as a passenger with disabilities or accompanying someone with mobility issues.

“We recognise how important it is to support the independence of customers with disabilities by ensuring the proper care of mobility devices throughout their journey with us,” an American Airlines spokesperson told USA Today.

“This visual is deeply concerning and we are gathering more details so that we can address them with our team. We will continue to work hard to improve our handling of assistive devices across our network.”

US Department of Transportation data shows that more than 11,000 wheelchairs or mobility aids were damaged by US airlines in 2022.

In the UK, the law surrounding this type of equipment states: “Where wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices are lost or damaged during handling at the airport or during transport on board aircraft, the passenger to whom the equipment belongs should be compensated.”

However, the amount is calculated under the standard Montreal Convention terms, which limits compensation to a total of around £1,150.

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