Back to Squawk list
  • 23

Air Canada Under Fire as Disabled Passenger Forced to Drag Himself off Aircraft

Air Canada has announced its plan to make significant changes to its operations following several high-profile incidents involving disabled passengers. Four people with disabilities revealed their poor experiences flying with Air Canada this year. These incidents involved the airline not accommodating disabled passengers who required extra assistance. In one case, the passenger was forced to drag himself to the front of the aircraft before being able to use a wheelchair. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

patrick baker 29
i avail myself of wheel chair services, and on delta and southwest there is consistent good service with wheelchairs ready for me when i depart the aircraft. Air Canada ought to look at Southwest and Delta for the right way to do this service, and remove any employee incapable of rendering this kind service to those of us who require it. The wheelchairs are in sufficient numbers at both ends of most flights, far too space consuming to carry on board. Good will can make this work better. Pay attention Air Canada....
rlowney 4
I like Delta as well but make no mind it totally depends on the airport, the time, and the country you fly to. I have too many horror stories to count!!
Stephen Donnelly 14
A totally unacceptable bunch of baloney for any business, bu especially a major carrier!
21voyageur 6
Agreed and that is exactly why the media has its teeth in this. My hope is that AC simply does not get away with "riding this out". They were called to report to the Canadian gov't for what that is worth.
Phil Caron 1
They're owned by the Canadian Government who couldn't care less unless it buys votes for the dictator.
Peter Fuller 2
Air Canada was privatized in 1989, the shares are publicly traded. As of April 2021, Canadian Government owns all of 6.4% of the shares (per Wikipedia).

[This poster has been suspended.]

Michael Dealey 3
Congratulations. You are an example of what's wrong with the world.
James Simms 23
I’d want ‘more’ than flight vouchers if I were treated such on AC, something that would remind them to act differently in the future.

In the meat of the article, AC did the same to their Chief Accessibility Officer on Disability, “A third incident involved Air Canada forgetting the wheelchair of its chief accessibility officer on her flight from Toronto to Vancouver in October.”

How Tone Deaf can they be?
jeff slack 10
Not sure why there is not a disabled row where the disabled are in a rolling aeroplane seat at the gate, rolled down the gangway and onto the aircraft where the same rolling seat goes to the disabled row and the chair locks in place until landing.........
rlowney 9
The number of wheelchair passengers are increasing every year, having one row isn't the answer. How we are treated is. Have you seen a handicapped bathroom on a plane?
Ric Wernicke 1
The accessible restrooms are still in the planning stages until legislation makes them mandatory.
patrick baker 9
ssome flights there are onlyu 2 or three wheelchair passengers, but i have seen 6 on one of my flights lately. No way to fortell how many wheelchair passenger there may be .
James Simms 3
These Honor Flights for WW2/Korean/Vietnam Vets; have to imagine there’s more than a handful wheelchair bound Vets
Susan Wener 4
Our Honor Flights are a charter (on American). We own the chairs and have one for each Veteran.
lynx318 2
That should be sorted in booking notification of disability and seat configuration sorted for the flight
I have polio, use crutches and require a wheelchair in any airport that has more than 1 terminal. I usually have to wait 10-75 minutes to secure a wheelchair to get to the gate. I can walk on to the plane once I'm at the gate. About 50-60% of the time, when I am ready to deplane there is no wheelchair waiting for me. I have missed connecting flights many times because the wait for wheelchair to get to the gate can range from 30-90 minutes - if at all. The plane crew leaves, I make my way to the desk at the gate, and often the airlines personnel do minimal to get a wheelchair to me. I understand that the wheelchair assistance crew are not airport or airline employees but are contract workers with a separate company. I've been told employees aren't coming back to this type of job. Oh, and I never tip less than $20, even in an airport the size of Love Field in Dallas and tip up to $50 - depending how large the airport and if need to change terminals. Depending on airport, if I need to connect, I give myself anywhere from 3 -7 hours because wheelchair assistance is spotty, and I simply cannot move that fast on my own. Plus I always arrive at least 4 hours early in case I have to wait for service. If my destination is within a 12 hr days drive, I drive. But I often have to fly cross country and international for business. So the suggestion that handicapped not fly doesn't work for me. I intend to be a productive working person as long as I live.
Daniel Hagan 2
No doubt you are a productive working person. You also understand and accept that you are a unique child of God, as we all are. We all need to acquire your patience and understanding. Happy flying!
Dale Ballok 7
There’s no excuse for this! I can’t understand why the crew can’t realize the passenger could use assistance! What were they doing, standing around, talking? Again, they can’t consider what it would be like if THEY were the ones needing assistance? Just pathetic!
carste10 1
I'm thinking that creating is not allowed to assist in these cases due to lack of training for this. Could be a liability.
carste10 2
CREW,not creating. Blasted auto distort!
Jeffrey Bue 7
I can't remember the last flight I was on where there weren't passengers requiring wheelchairs.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Michael Dealey 2
As should middle-aged, strawberry blond Karens who vote for Trudeau.
rlowney 6
I have personally been a victim of AC's contemptuous treatment of the disabled, and this was in June this year when they said they had issued the "new" guidelines for the treatment of passengers with disabilities! The issue is that they follow the laws as written. So if the laws don't spell out to the letter what has to be done they fall back on "we follow the law". Since this incident happened in the US this passenger can have a lot better chance of suing than he would if he was in Canada where lawsuits go nowhere. The broader problem is how the disabled are treated. We are the dirty little secret that no one wants to be bothered dealing with.

[This poster has been suspended.]

You would undoubtedly become the former AC president with that approach.
NO BIG SURPRISE... AC is always in trouble ...I guess when a COUNTRY has barely any Airlines they seem to do what ever they want !!!
matt jensen 5
Wasn't there a UAL pax that had to do the same a couple of years ago?
dee9bee 3
I'm thinking that this is more of a systemic problem. Air Canada doesn't hire employees to care for folks with special needs at every airport they serve, nor does any airline that I know of. It's subcontracted out. Maybe the singling out of one airline is unfair?
21voyageur 7
Outsourced or not, the airline owns the responsibility. Full stop.
Nope, this typical evidence suggests that some airlines are demonstrably better - or worse - than others.
loubearr 3
My God that's an absolute tragedy where the hell were all the able bodied men sitting in the airplane? How could anybody sit there and watch somebody crawl towards the front of the airplane this just makes me ill to even read this article.

And all he gets is flight vouchers? Give me a break. I would never ever fly Air Canada, I'd rather walk.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Mohammad Bkt 1
How do you know keep writing your experiences about being in cargo with horses
Paul Senk 3
Bingo, Trudeau is an ahole
I fly out to Burbank twice a year and I am 73. I have witnessed an increase in wheelchaired passengers going from Atlanta to Denver - Denver to Burbank and the return Flight. When I first started in 1999 I hardly saw any passengers requiring assistance but today I see a lot of ladies younger than me who travel together and they all use wheelchairs, mostly because they can get better seats with Southwest and board first. It’s totally bogus
Ken Hudson 2
Just standard AC non-service. Was likely yelled at to hurry up or there would be extra fees. They have not changed nor will they ever.
If the only flt to a place I want to go then I do not want to go there.
mimana 3
With such extreme progressive leftist government, I'm very surprised Canadians treat that way disabled people. If the person was a non-binary (non-conforming man), they would have carried him like a queen on their arms to a plush ambulance for expedite service.
Honestly, I would like to see the incident report before I can make an opinion or jump to conclusions.
Must Airlines pay close attention to the disability acts and try to avoid getting themselves in trouble.
Robert Fleury 1
The problem with Air Canada is that they are never ahead of situations, they always react when public pressure dictates...
Joe Keifer 1
All it takes is a few "rotten apples" to spoil the whole bunch. Air Canada fix this ASAP!
Sheldon Lang 1
Air Canada is a national embarrassment to the Canadian aviation industry. They go out of their way to screw up even the simplest of tasks. Customer service - you're on your own. In flight - attendants stick to their routines - that's it. When you need something - you're n your own. On time departures / arrivals - no such thing. Always an excuse. It goes on and on. There are very choices for certain routes, so you get to pay the highest price for the worst performance.
Making a disabled passenger fend for himself - no surprise. Just add it to the list.
Danny Pearson 1
My son had MD and traveled by plane many times. In 1986 we went to Australia and not only did they have help from the crews but equipment to assist him and the airport in Sidney had two men to help us. We mostly flew United. How many years ago was that? I can’t believe Air Canada is that far behind
A disservice Vs a discrimination act .
90% of airlines all over the world offer vouchers
However if there is a complaint and an incident report by a passenger, then it should be investigated by the American with disability act ..
one can talk and have an opinion, however we do not know the facts .
And no, I do not work for Air Canada .or defend them just offering a logical perspective
Iesa Rodrigues 1
Wheelchairs and babystrollers deserve more attention from most the airlines
firizawa 1
I once read a story about how several passengers on a Southwest flight got in the preboarding line in wheel chairs, but none of them required a wheel chair when they deboarded. While this does not excuse Air Canada for their lack of accommodation for disabled passengers, it is an example of some issues that may arise in attempting to implement it. It seems that nothing is as simple as it first appears.
I have used a wheelchair to get to the plane when the walk is too much at the point of embarkation, and not used a wheelchair when I arrive because I can handle the walk. You are correct, nothing is ever simple as it first appears. Then there are the times a wheelchair gets dented and made unusable - which the airline is responsible for.
Bab Bezat 1
I'm in the same boat. I can't make the walk through the terminals, and can't stand for long periods of time, but I can walk down the jetway and to my seat on my own. Some of the commenters here aren't thinking about the "hidden" disabilities. I was born with dislocated hips and a deformed pelvis. But you can't see all the surgery scars or know about mobility issues just from looking at me.
Also - my mother's walker was damaged on a flight (it had been gate-checked; though still usable - the front padded bar was too damaged to continue using) and even after a dispute she got zero compensation for the damage.
Phil Caron 1
Air Canada's lack of care is representative of its owner, the Canadian government. I'm surprised they don't push their MAID service to their disabled passengers like they do to members of the disabled Canadian population. MAID is the assisted suicide government program targeting medically challenged persons, mentally sick individuals, the homeless, the drug addicts, etc. Sick society.
Sheldon Lang 1
The Canadian government dos not "own" Air Canada. Yes, at one point it was a crown corporation. AC is a public company trading om the major indexes in North America. But it sill doesn't explain their utter disregard for the pax that pay the freight.
Typical Ignorant off the cuff comment. Air Canada is a private corporation, non-government airline just like American Airlines, or is AA "Government owned" just because of its name?
Phil Caron 0
The government owns 6.4% of the company, it may be private but needs government support to make it. It has been in & out of bankruptcy a few times since becoming "private" and the government has its back as it is the recognized national carrier. Unlike you I perform research before I comment and if you can't recognize Sinicism, oh well! As far as banned books in Florida, I guess you listen to the government subsidized liberal media or CNN.
21voyageur -2
If by chance you live in Canada, , , please feel free to buy a one-way ticket out. My guess is that the ticket will be on an American airline and if so, that it will land in a country that has far far greater problems than where you took off from.
Phil Caron 0
Thankfully, sold everything & escaped by chartering a flight 3+ years ago and now live in the Sunshine State, never going back to Comminada.
Your comments ought to be banned, just like the books your Dictator Govern0r loves banning. Heil Florida. Enjoy the seal level rise and/or the devastating hurricanes and floods.
Michael Dealey 3
Nobody banned any books. Banning means the books are not available to the public, are illegal to own and can't be found.

They were simply removed from school libraries, at the request of parents, I might add. If parents want their children reading the books in question, they can freely acquire them from other places.
ravenshammer 3
You honestly still think the sea level is rising?😆 Do you really think your "messiah" would buy a beach front home on Martha's Vineyard if it was going to be under water in a few years?

[This poster has been suspended.]

ravenshammer 5
Yeah, it RAINED. And had a flood. And the water didn't disperse because 90% of the street gutters were blocked with garbage! It floods in Ney York at least once every 10 years, and has been since they started recording it back when it was called New Amsterdam. Why not try reading a book, you might learn something. No? Just go back to watching your Tik Tok and Instagram videos in your mother's basement and leave the discussion for the adults, it's clearly past your bedtime.
Bill Overdue 0
No different than other embedded "government run services"! They don't give a damn becuase they have a monopoly, and dont need to care! Same with Amtrak and USPS. They hemorrhage "billions" every year becuase they are poorly run and they answer to no one, just keep pouring billions and billions and billions into them! And for what? A train that runs 76% of the time at 55mph? Or you'll get mail when we find it?
Lance Neward 4
I can't really speak to Amtrak, but I can say that USPS has done a remarkable job for me, in general. Are there glitches? To be sure, but I am thoroughly impressed by their ability to successfully handle literally billions of pieces of mail to hundreds of thousands of locations on a pretty much daily basis.

If you aren't happy with USPS service, do as Fred Smith did, and start a specialized competitor (Federal Express). Or you could always deliver your personal or business mail yourself and then compare the costs of doing that with what USPS (or even one of the express services) charges. BTW the USPS no longer has a true monopoly, but they do deliver to remote locations that the aforesaid express services won't touch.

A few employees in any large organization (private or governmental) can screw up, to be sure, and it's up to their management (and their unions) to correct/eliminate them, but I would submit that there are few people who get up in the morning and say, "I think I'll screw up today."

As was said before, management's the problem, not the workers. Air Canada can (and must) fix this mess, and it's up to the Canadian government to see that they do.
Bill Overdue -3
USPS is incapable of fixing anything, becuase they dont have too. Even with the pathetic service they provide, they're still rewarded with billions and billions of taxpayers monies! Rewarding ignorance is the demise of this country. Only gov'mint funded agency worse is Planned Parenthood. Air Canada isn't fixing anything!
Nunya Bizness -2
You are wrong about Planned Parenthood. They are not even close to the worse. The TSA takes the cake on that one. The abortion debate is stupid and I know discussing it on an aviation site is ridiculous, but lets go off the rails!!! You have no right to tell a woman how she manages her life. Plain and simple. If it is some religious belief, well, i do believe the USA gives us freedom to choose that: so don’t force it upon other people. If it is “baby killing”, maybe you should listen to doctors and not these old men who haven’t a clue about obstetrics. Or is it the media feeding you some non-sense or lie?

What is do find amazing is how fast the pro-lifers re-think things when it’s their 12 y/o daughter raped and knocked up by Uncle Chester. But Hypocrisy!! Is the rally cry for republicans, so I shouldn’t be amazed…

I say, Live your life and make your choices, but allow other people the same. You don’t have to agree with their choices. Really, How does a persons action that will have no effect on you whatsoever matter? A person who you don’t know; will never know, or even talk to. But you feel like your way is somehow better for them? Something that might destroy their chance at life? Kill the mother, save the fetus. Who needs mom anyway?? Or the mother lives, and now you’ll complain that she needs social programs to survive, all while doing everything you can to cut those programs too. I don’t think. Seems more like a bunch of control freaks deciding everything.

And if anyone thinks abstinence is an option, then I’d say they are completely out of touch with reality. Okay, I’m done. You can go ahead and downvote it… i don’t care!
D Rotten -1
??? Well, what does one expect from a country that steers people towards MAID (Euthanasia) JUST because they're on the verge of losing their apartment, and will become homeless.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Patrick Wahle 2
I totally agree with you, Rick. I have taken flights to and from Taipei to North America and the handling of wheelchairs is 100% more efficient on the western shores of the Pacific Ocean.
I have my theory on the causes of these discrepancies which is going to get me a lot of negative remarks on this site. But if you are interested to find out please read my following answer to Ric.
Patrick Wahle 5
In the Asian far-eastern airports all airport services are handled by citizens of their countries. These countries do not allowed immigration and no working permits are delivered to foreigners unless they hold specific skills. Either you fly to Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Shanghai, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, the people handling disability services are Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Thais or Malaysians. They have pride in doing a good job and promote their countries.
While in North America and Europe those services are contracted to companies which hire immigrants from 3rd world countries paid at the minimum wages. On top of that each major airport is controlled by certain ethnic immigrants. Either they are Pakistanese or Hindous, Sikhs, Somalians, Ethiopans, etc… Same in Europe where these positions are held by Africans (North Africans, Central Africans) or middle-eastern Asians.
As an exemple Toronto is fully controlled by South Asians. Disability services and security checks are their areas of activities. You’ll never get a “Please” or a “Thank you” from these people. They just bark at you and you luggage are searched by young south Asians who have not finished high school. Vancouver is no exception. In the US it seems that Somalians have employment privileges in several airports around the Great Lakes. These people have no pride in what they are doing and giving them some authority by wearing a badge does not help.
Now you can shoot at me.
Bill Ross 0
Just what does the Dems have to do with the airport? the airport authority runs the field, not the city, silly goose.
mimana 7
The most aggressive progressive leftists are running the airports.
John Taylor 6
Example; the city of Chicago runs O'Hare and if you aren't a Dem and part of the patronage army, you don't get hired.
Bill Overdue 1
Becuase DIMMS run it silly goose!
Always follow the money...

October 23, 2023
LAX/LAWA CEO Justin Erbacci resigns, takes post in Saudi Arabia!
Ric Wernicke -5
There is a long skinny strip of land running from the LA city limits to the airport to allow the LA mayor and council to run the airport. The LAPD protects their budget by writing parking tickets, & parking costs more than a car payment. The city sets rents and a ham sandwich costs $30. On the air side landing, parking, and refueling fees are overpriced and profits go to the city. The facility always looks like it is run down at the heels, and parts of some terminals are over 60 years old. Powerful public unions bleed the airport budget. LAWA is run by a group of political hacks that had to struggle to finish high school, and make one bad decision after another.
Nunya Bizness 1
I really don’t think it matters “who” is running things. Dem or Rep…. It just comes down to greed. We as a species are terrible! Sure; there is good in the world, but, lets be realistic. We will exterminate ourselves. No doubt about that. As smart as we think we are, we are dumb. We fight over the dumbest shit, ignoring the real issues, and only caring about how much money and power can i accumulate. Simply because of greed. Take greed away, and look at what the world becomes. Nah!! Nukes baby, launch ‘em!!!
DaveRK -1
Absolutely nothing, but you know how it goes, mental midgets like Ric feel so much better after spewing non-sense.

[This poster has been suspended.]

good one!

[This poster has been suspended.]

Patrick Wahle 3
We don’t need Americans for that. We have our own specialists in these fields. Don’t we have a PM who has legalized drug use in 2018? Don’t we have Provinces which have decriminalized opioids usage and offer free injections?
Bill Overdue 2
If you had a few guns, perhaps you could take your country back!

[This poster has been suspended.]

Bill Overdue 2
Na, you have a black face dictator!


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.