The airline damaged my wheelchair — what do I do?
In meeting wheelchair users all across the world, I’ve discovered that the greatest fear that keeps people from traveling is the thought of a damaged wheelchair. I get it — my wheelchair has replaced my legs and, without it, I’m stuck. Completely immobile. That’s a nightmare.
Damaged wheelchairs are rare, and destroyed wheelchairs are like unicorns (sort of). I say “sort of” because Delta did destroy my wheelchair once, after it was dropped from the airplane’s cargo hold down onto the tarmac. Thud. Crash. Crack? I’m not sure, but my chair – all $25,000 of it – was mangled beyond repair. In my 600+ flights across countless airlines and airports, that nightmare has only come once. That’s very good odds.
The good news is – if an airline damages (or destroys) your mobility equipment, they are on the hook for 100% of the repairs, up to 100% of the original purchase/list price. They’re also expected to accommodate you with a loaner chair for as long as the repairs take. My replacement wheelchair came within 2.5 weeks, which I felt was pretty fast for a complex rehab power chair.
Here’s the thing – you [...]