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Woman sues airline for not providing wheelchair to use lavatory

Web Report
Filed on June 19, 2020
airlines, lavatory, amputation

(Photo: Alamy)

The lawsuit filed in a court states that she was faced with a humiliating chain of events during her four-hour flight.

A 51-year-old US woman with a partial leg amputation, was flying aboard an American Airlines flight during which she was subjected to humiliation while using the lavatory as the airlines failed to provide her with a wheelchair. 

The woman, Tammy Se Spears, sued American Airlines and online travel agency CheapOair for not ensuring proper accommodations for her cross-country flight and causing emotional distress and humiliation.

The lawsuit filed in an Utah district court states that Spears was faced with a humiliating chain of events during her four-hour flight. Spears said she was dragged and dropped in the aisle of the plane while trying to get to the lavatory on her flight from Salt Lake City to Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the lawsuit, about an hour into the trip, when Spears requested an aisle chair to use the lavatory, a flight attendant told her to "hold it" or get to the restroom without the chair as there was no aisle chair onboard.

Spears attempted to "hold it" but eventually said she needed to go to the lavatory. Although crew members attempted to help Spears from her seat to the restroom, but in the process she was "dropped, pushed, dragged and injured". The suit stated Spears was then told by a crew member to hop and "scoot" on the floor to get to the lavatory. She was not permitted to close the lavatory door and was forced to disrobe in full view of passengers sitting in the first-class cabin.

"American Airlines and CheapOair owed a duty of care to Spears to provide her with an aisle wheelchair," Diane Marger Moore, who is representing Spears, was quoted as saying in NDTV.

Moore added, "They not only failed to provide her with a chair, they failed to warn her that without one, there would be no means for her to use the lavatory for the duration of the flight. These failures combined with the flight crew's lack of compassion caused physical and emotional harm to our client that may not ever fully heal."

Spears was flying for the first time since undergoing two surgeries to amputate a portion of her left leg below the knee. Her family had contacted American Airlines to ensure she was provided with a wheelchair throughout her trip from her home in Jerome, Idaho, to her sister's home in Richmond, Virginia. The lawsuit noted that Spears uses a wheelchair and is legally blind.


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