Forced to Crawl, Wheelchair User Sues Delta

baraka-kanaan-913A Hawaii man is suing Delta Airlines after he was forced to crawl to his wheelchair twice during a 2012 business trip. The federal lawsuit alleges Delta violated the Air Carrier Access Act, which prohibits discrimination against passengers with disabilities.

Baraka Kanaan, a paraplegic from Maui, called Delta to arrange assistive equipment before his July 2012 trip. As stated by his complaint, when Kanaan landed in Nantucket, Mass., no assistive equipment was available. Despite a visible lift at another gate, he was told the flight crew couldn’t help him. Kanaan says he had no choice but to crawl in his suit from his seat, down the steps and across the tarmac to his wheelchair. A similar incident occurred when Kanaan was scheduled to fly home.

After calling Delta to complain, Kanaan was offered a $100 voucher and 25,000 Sky Miles. He declined the offer. Delta admitted fault in both incidents, but after they refused to offer further compensation, Kanaan sued. He is seeking punitive and compensatory damages to be decided during trial.

Kanaan says he can’t describe the shame and embarrassment he experienced during the experience. He is still dumbfounded at how he was treated. “For this to happen once is heinous. For this to happen multiple times is ridiculous,” he says. “There’s no legitimate reason why they shouldn’t have had the proper safety equipment. My whole message is you can’t do this to people.”

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