United Airlines has apologized after a disabled man said he was forced to crawl off a plane Tuesday night as he was traveling home from giving a talk about accessible transportation for the disabled.
D’Arcee Neal said he waited for a flight attendant to help him off the plane when it landed at Reagan National Airport in D.C., but no one came. He said he desperately needed to use the restroom, so he crawled from his mid-cabin seat to the door, the New York Daily News reported.
“I mean, it’s humiliating,” he told a local NBC News affiliate. “No one should have to do what I did.”
Mr. Neal said the airline should have provided an aisle-sized wheelchair and an attendant to help him get off the plane. United said a wheelchair was waiting for Mr. Neal at the gate, but it was accidentally removed before he got off the plane, the Daily News reported.
“During the deplaning process, we made a mistake about the need for the chair and it was removed from the area,” the airline told the Daily News. “When we realized the error, we returned the chair to the gate, but it arrived too late to assist Mr. Neal.”
Mr. Neal said it was a disappointing experience, seeing that he was on his way home from a speaking engagement in San Francisco about accessible transportation.
“Half the time, I feel like airlines treat people with disabilities as a secondary concern,” he told NBC.