Viral Video Of Florida Airport Employees Damaging Wheelchair Prompts Federal Investigation
Well, this is unacceptable.
Two American Airlines employees made a big mistake on the job.
After a video went viral of the employees damaging a wheelchair, the Department of Transportation to open a federal investigation. The video was posted to TikTok Nov. 19, showing the wheelchair being thrown carelessly from the gate to the tarmac at Terminal E at the Miami International Airport.
The video was shared by Haeley Dyrdahl, who can be heard saying that it was the third time she had witnessed something like that happening.
The video made its way past TikTok to other social media platforms and caught the eye of government officials, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who, in a tweet, made a promise. “This is totally unacceptable. We’ll be investigating,” Buttigieg wrote. “This is exactly why we are taking action to protect passengers who use wheelchairs. Everyone deserves to travel safely and with dignity.”
Included in the announcement, the 2020 presidential candidate placed a link that provides a detailed outline of how the agency is working toward increasing accessibility for people with disabilities to have a safe and reliable way to travel, especially in the air.
According to The Hill, the number of complaints made to DOT tied to disabilities increased between 2020 and 2021. In 2022, data showed airlines were responsible for 941 wheelchairs being mishandled. In February 2023, Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) created a bill that hopes to create transparency about disability-related complaints in the airline industry.
“We recognize how important it is to support the independence of customers with disabilities by ensuring the proper care of mobility devices throughout their journey with us,” American Airlines said in a statement. “This visual is deeply concerning, and we are gathering more details so that we can address them with our team. We will continue to work hard to improve our handling of assistive devices across our network.”
There has been no official word on whether the employees in the video are still employed by the airline.