A paraplegic customer is claiming he was forced to scoot down the aisle of a plane multiple times because of a lack of proper equipment.
When Shilhabel landed in Chicago’s O’Hare airport to make his quick connecting flight, he was not given an aisle chair, a type of wheelchair used by passengers getting in and off the plane. Instead, a United Airlines flight attendant physically carried him out to his wheelchair, which was waiting in the terminal.
"One of the flight attendants, who knew that I was in a rush and the aisle chair wasn't there, he actually picked me up, lifted me and put me into my normal chair so that I could make my connecting flight," Schilhabel said to WLS.
Though the airport allegedly had an aisle chair, airline staff reportedly decided carrying Shilhabel would be faster.
The traveler’s problems with proper equipment did not end there, however.
Once the couple landed in Punta Cana, Schilhabel allegedly had to scoot his way down the plane aisle on his bottom since the airport did not have an aisle chair. Once off the plane, Schilhabel had to slide down the stairs with the help of his wife as the airport's accesible lift was broken, Schilhabel tweeted out.
"I had to scoot on my bottom all the way to the front of the plane, and when we realized there wasn't a ramp or anything else, my wife and I just decided, no, it's not safe. We don't trust them to carry me down the flight of stairs, so we just hopped down. She grabbed my legs, and I hopped down step by step on my bottom," he said to WLS.
On the way back, Schilhabel said he suffered more problems. This time when landing at O’Hare, an aisle chair was not available at all and the passenger claims he had to scoot out of the plane once again.
United Airlines said in a statement to Fox News that they have apologized to Schilhabel and are actively looking into this matter and working to ensure it does not happen again.
“We are proud to operate an airline that doesn’t just include people with disabilities but welcomes them as customers. In fact, thousands of people with disabilities fly United every day. That said, this incident falls far short of our own high standard of caring for our customers. We have been in touch with the customer to apologize and assure him that the errors that led to this situation are extremely rare.”
United Airlines confirmed to Fox News that the company has ordered a new lift for the airport at Punta Cana to avoid situations like this in the future.