United Airlines is sorry they forced a disabled man to crawl off flight to go to the bathroom

[Read the post]

1 Like

“was forced to crawled off a plane”

Sorry to be that person, but typos to fix here :slight_smile:

this had happened a couple of times before (with various airlines), and no company had ever bothered to apologize
Organisational SNAFUs (no aisle seat, missing wheel chair) happen, but at least have the decency to apologise. What the fuck is wrong with people?

"I just hope they learn from this," he says.

Don’t bet on it Dude!


They had 30 minutes to turn and prep the plane. Helping a disabled man deplane without crawling wasn’t on the critical path.

I’m sorry for laughing this hard, but damn. “Mr. Neal was returning from San Francisco, where had been invited to speak about accessible transportation.”


My thought exactly. I’m starting to think every business with over $1M in revenue needs to be broken up into eensy-weensy little pieces.

The saddest part is, it’s quite possible a flight attendant noticed, and knew the gentleman was due an apology, and said something, and it didn’t matter.


I know, Jesus Fuck, how did this even happen??
United really does suck shit, I won’t fly them, but I didn’t know they sucked THIS fucking bad.


For me the full name of the company will forever be “United breaks guitars”.


One of the things is that people have had it drilled into them that apology means liability. Corporations have to expunge this human decency and politeness in case it costs them money.


It sucks because everybody else deplaned, thinking he’d have his assist like usual, and no real people were left who probably would have helped. If I were there, it would have been no problem to help him walk in a dignified manner to get to the restroom. I say shame on the remaining flight staff for not helping him.


Ramen. I’d have offered to carry him or help him walk, as would every decent person I know.

1 Like

I wonder if there was an “well if we somehow fucked up we’d be in a worse situation” argument here. Because that mentality is also prevalent.


One time I was walking down the street and there was a guy up ahead lying in the middle of the sidewalk (he didn’t look homeless), with people walking around him. I asked if he was OK and it seemed like he wanted help getting up, so we did that, only then he couldn’t stand on his own and I couldn’t understand his speech, and I was like ah shit but then suddenly a cyclist showed up and she was all “it looks like he has Parkinson’s, sometimes that makes it hard to initiate movement but if I nudge his feet that will get him moving, see?” and then lots of other citizens also showed up to help and it was all resolved.

I like this story because if I leave out the part where I considered putting him back on the sidewalk and running away, it makes me sound good. But more relevantly, there’s a thing with groups of people where they all see one another not acting, so each of them waits for the person in charge to act, and no one does. It’s why first aiders are taught that instead of saying “somebody call 911” you should point at someone and say “you call 911”.

So I would guess there was some dynamic like that at play, although we are talking about United cabin crew so it’s equally possible they were just monsters.



One time on an international flight I got gout on the plane. Like an idiot I had checked my bugout bag, so the emergency pills were at baggage claim.

Yes, if you can’t walk and they don’t have a wheelchair reserved, you crawl. I only had to crawl about a hundred feet, then could bounce against the wall on one foot.

The gate agent actually said, “Looks like you’re not having much fun”. That still makes me see red.

I haven’t ever figured out if there is anything in between reserving a wheel chair or getting EMT.


I guess the american mindset for these situations is “what if accidentally drop him and sues us to Mars?”


At least we’d have someone on Mars?


I am so glad you got a laugh at his expense. I bet you would not be laughing if it were you, huh?

  1. The airlines must learn that this is as bad as letting someone board a plane and then not giving them a seat. I’m actually surprised they’re not getting fined for screwing up like this.

  2. Before you go rushing to offer to carry someone off a plane, make sure you know how to offer help. Roger Ebert had his shoulder dislocated when someone “helped” him in a cinema without giving him a chance to a) consent b) explain just what kind of assistance he required.

It can be tricky. I’ve had a disabled friend yell at me for not offering them help when they felt I “ought to know”. The same person has also yelled at me for not offering other noticeably disabled people help. On the other hand, I’ve had disabled people (and the same friend) get irritated when I’ve offered help because it looked to me like they wanted some, except they didn’t. It really depends on the person and the situation.

In this case, it sounds like there was supposed to have been a wheelchair, and that the person in question had discussions with the attendants, which at least makes it clear that yes, they were expecting assistance off the plane in some form or another. But the form of the alternative assistance (given that the airline screwed up and didn’t provide the wheelchair) still gets defined by the person receiving the assistance.


When I see “other people”, I typically assume that we might be the very same person. I constantly laugh at myself, and hope that others are not offended that they are me.