*Photos from the Instagram's of Bri Scaleese, & Cory Lee
Model Bri Scaleese is just the latest victim of Delta's carelessness with wheelchair users. She was flying home from a wedding when her chair was treated with such disregard that it was damaged beyond repair. And that's no little thing. Because, as Scaleese says in her viral Tik Tok video, "So, today my freedom and independence was taken away, I don't know how I'm going to live my life." She is far from the first person to have this experience. She's not even the first person with a large platform that it's happened to this month!
Sign the petition to tell Delta to change their policies immediately: either allow wheelchair users to use their chairs in the air or properly train staff to care for the chairs.
Cory Lee, a disabled advocate and wheelchair user, spoke out on Instagram just weeks ago when Delta did the same thing to him. Luckily his wheelchair was fixed relatively quickly. Not long before that, Public Health PhD Candidate and Quadriplegic Gabrielle GG deFiebre had the same thing happen: her chair was so damaged that she is still without it, 7 weeks later. These are just three cases that we are aware of because of social media, but a Washington Post investigation revealed that airlines lose or damage about 29 mobility aids like this every day.
Specialty wheelchairs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and wheelchair users do not consider them objects, but rather extensions of themselves because they are so integral to mobility and autonomy. Despite this, Delta didn't even bother to immediately address this problem by paying to replace or repair the chairs. Treating something so essential to a person with such disregard is discrimination at best. Disabled people deserve better.
This is absolutely unacceptable and obviously not an isolated issue. Clearly Delta staff are not properly trained on how to secure a wheelchair during a flight and disabled people are paying the literal high price. If Delta is going to require that wheelchair users transfer to their seats and put their chairs under the plane, they must do better!
Sign the petition if you want Delta to take this problem seriously and replace all damaged chairs, plus change their training and policies to ensure this doesn't keep happening!