Ontario, December 27: A wheelchaired passenger with spastic cerebral palsy had to drag himself off an Air Canada plane in Las Vegas after the airline failed to provide him with assistance. The incident, which happened on August 30, 2023, resulted in a $97,500 (Rs 81,20,867) fine for Air Canada from the Canadian Transportation Agency.
As per the report published by the Independent, the passenger, Rodney Hodgins, a 49-year-old hardware salesman from British Columbia, was travelling with his wife, Deanna Hodgins, to celebrate their anniversary. He was shocked when the flight attendant told him that they could not arrange a wheelchair for him and asked him to get to the front of the plane and disembark. “I said, of course, I can’t. I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t walk’”, he told Canadian media outlets. Air Vistara Fined Rs 70 Lakh By DGCA for Not Operating Mandated UDAN Flights in Northeast.
Hodgins had no choice but to use his upper body strength and crawl past 12 rows of seats while his wife held his legs. “He (flight attendant) said it to me a second time, so that’s when I got up, and I told my wife, ‘Move my legs,’ and I dragged myself to the front of the plane,” he said. The couple was devastated by the ordeal and felt humiliated in front of other passengers. Deanna Hodgins wrote on Facebook that the incident hurt them physically and emotionally and violated her husband’s human rights. She also said that Air Canada did not respond to them or reach out as they promised. Canada Plane Crash: Two Indians Among Three Killed After Aircraft Crashes in British Columbia.
Air Canada apologised to the couple and admitted that it breached Canadian disability regulations. In a statement on Friday, Air Canada said it is constantly working to improve its processes, introduce new measures to facilitate travel and act quickly to fix any identified shortfalls. “We fully appreciate the importance of making sure our customers with disabilities travel without encountering barriers and receive consistently reliable service,” the statement said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 27, 2023 11:57 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).