Local woman claims United Airlines denied her a wheelchair

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Updated: 6/02 11:03 pm

COLONIE, N.Y. – A local woman was on a recent trip and said she was denied access to a wheelchair by United Airlines.

Chrysta Santilli was in Chicago during a layover on her way back to the Capital Region when she did not receive a wheelchair even though she had an approved voucher.

“I was denied a wheelchair getting off, and I had to carry my son, his car seat, all of our luggage,” she said.

Santilli said a United Airlines employee told her she wasn’t given a wheelchair because the employee didn’t think she looked disabled.

“I have chronic back pain,” Santilli said. “I said, ‘My back’s already starting to hurt.’ She said, ‘Well, you probably didn’t get a wheelchair because you don’t look disabled.’”

Santilli said the discrimination continued. In a complaint to United Airlines, Santilli said the same employee would not give her more meal vouchers and did not treat her with respect.

“To treat someone less than human because they’re disabled just really shows a lack of any sort of ethics on behalf of the company,” she said. “How I felt when I left that kiosk…I’ve never…it was humiliating.”

United Airlines is investigating the incident.

In a written statement, the airline said, “What Ms. Santilli describes is not the experience we strive to deliver. Our records show she arrived in Chicago more than an hour before the connecting flight she missed and that we provided meal vouchers given the next flight was several hours later. We are discussing Ms. Santilli’s experience with the employees she spoke with and look forward to speaking with her further.”

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JimmyMc - 6/3/2014 9:36 PM
0 Votes
I agree with the previous commenter. My elderly mother has never had any issue getting any disabled assistance she requires from United. We've found the legacy airlines (in particular United and American) among the best at this kind of assistance. This complaint is some kind of shakedown.

itsmeloav - 6/3/2014 12:32 AM
0 Votes
She has chronic back pain but she apparently can get pregnant and carry a child for 9 months. What a load of crap. Back pain excuse is the biggest rip off to law suits and medical fraud.I have see people on disability for back pain going up and down ladders, dancing, chopping wood and shoveling driveways. But there they go in their cars with the handicapped sign. The truly handicapped have documentation up the whazoo not just a voucher from who knows who. Ya get a cart, put the kid in the car seat and the luggage on the cart and away ya go.
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