Thursday, September 20, 2007

They let kids fly alone

He booked a flight from Jacksonville to Wisconsin in June 2007 as he had seven times before without a problem. This flight though, he wasn't allowed on.

"I was humiliated. I was frustrated. There's no words to express how I felt that day," stated Andy Gates.

Gates suffers from a neurological disorder that has him confined to a wheelchair. He booked his flight on U S Airways just as he has in the past but this time he wasn't allowed to board. Some of his unassisted flights have been on U S Airways in the past but this time the airline told him that he was too disabled to fly alone and refused to let him board.

He has recently filed a lawsuit against U S Airways for $1 million stating that the airline should allow people like him on their flights. He added that he is very mobile for a person in a wheelchair and he has flown by himself in the past.

U S Airways originally issued a statement that said : "U S Airways personnel determined that he would not be able to assist in his own evacuation in the event of an emergency. We feel that our employees acted appropriately and followed both company and federal policy in this situation."

Gates returned to the airport two days later and flew to his destination without assistance or problems on another airline. He did state that he hopes that U S Airways will change their policy so that no one else will have to go through what he had.

It would seem that some airlines lately are choosing their own policies in barring customers from their planes. In the past weeks, two women were told to change their outfits because they were too "skimpy" and now Gates is barred from boarding at the gate. I don't believe this is a frivalous lawsuit, he had flown on the same airline before without a problem. The airlines don't seem to have much of a problem with young children flying alone, at least Gates is an adult.

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