American Airlines apologizes for not providing wheelchair to cancer patient

American Airlines failed to provide a wheelchair for a cancer patient flying home.

American Airlines failed to provide a wheelchair for a cancer patient flying home.  (AP Photo)

American Airlines has apologized after it failed to provide a wheelchair for customer and cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy.

Last week, Lisa Love was traveling from San Diego to her home near Dallas after undergoing a regular treatment for her leukemia.

“I flew in on Friday, had the procedure done, recuperated for a few days so I could fly home [Monday] morning,” Love told ABC 10.

When she arrived at the American Airlines ticket counter Lindbergh Field, Love says she requested a wheelchair to help her to the gate because she felt weak and was in pain. But she said her request was not taken seriously and dismissed by the agent helping her.

“She just kind of looked and said ‘Oh, you look fine to me,’ and I didn’t I know how to take it,” Love told ABC. She tried again. “I just said, you know, I’m here for cancer treatment and I need help, and at that point she just kind of yelled over her shoulder ‘I need a wheelchair’ and dismissed me on the way and I waited for about 20 minutes and nothing came.”

Eventually, Love says, another airport employee provided a wheelchair and she was able to make her flight home. But in Dallas, American Airlines again failed to provide a wheelchair to take her off the plane.

“The lady at the counter by the gate said, 'I don’t have you on my list' and just turned and started talking to somebody else,” Love recalled to ABC.

“I know I look like I could be a healthy person, but you can’t see leukemia or most cancers on the inside.”

Initially, Love contacted the airline’s customer service on Monday evening where she received  an automated email reply stating she would be contacted within 30 days.

But American says they have been in contact with Love.

“Our customer service special has been in contact with Miss Love and she definitely should have received a wheelchair upon request, no questions asked,” Andrea Huegley, communications director for American Airlines, told Love did not request a wheelchair ahead of her airport arrival, but prior notice isn't required under American’s policy.

“It doesn’t matter what a customer looks like, if a customer asks for a wheelchair, our policy is to provide access to one,” Huegley continued.

Huegley explained that the airline is looking into the issue with the airport, ticketing agent and is also working with the Department of Transportation to figure out exactly what happened.  

“All of our agents do go through training to make sure they are able to serve customers of all needs, especially those customers who may require special assistance,” Huegley reiterated.  “In this case, unfortunately Miss Love did not receive the assistance she needed and we are working with her, and everyone else involved, to rectify the situation.”