Unfortunate Event on a Celebration Trip: Air Canada is under the spotlight and facing criticism for its grave oversight. Rodney Hodgins, a 49-year-old from British Columbia diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, had a distressing experience while traveling with the airline. Alongside his wife, Deanna, Rodney chose Air Canada for their special journey to Las Vegas in celebration of their anniversary in August. The trip that was supposed to be filled with joy took a bitter turn when Rodney was not provided a wheelchair upon landing.
The Distressing Ordeal: After their flight landed, Deanna Hodgins expressed her dismay in a Facebook post, stating that the flight attendant informed them there was no time to bring a wheelchair onboard. The couple initially mistook the flight attendant’s request for Rodney to drag himself off the plane as a jest. Sadly, it wasn’t. The incident required Rodney to exert his upper body strength, dragging himself past several rows, while his wife had to support his legs.
Public Outcry and Emotional Trauma: Deanna’s post highlights the emotional and physical pain the incident inflicted upon them. Rodney not only endured physical strain but also faced a violation of his human rights. Despite ensuring all necessary preparations for the journey, the couple felt let down by Air Canada. “Air Canada failed us in every sense,” Deanna mentioned in her post.
Air Canada’s Statement and Previous Incidents: Air Canada, in response, admitted to the shortfall in services provided to Hodgins. The airline mentioned its collaboration with a third-party wheelchair assistance provider in Las Vegas and has now promised a re-evaluation of its mobility assistance service partners after this incident. This incident isn’t isolated; previously in October, the airline misplaced the wheelchair of Canada’s chief accessibility officer, Stephanie Cadieux.
The Need for Improved Accessibility: Both incidents throw light on the pressing need for airlines, especially flagship carriers like Air Canada, to prioritize and improve accessibility. While Air Canada offered a C$2,000 flight voucher to Hodgins as compensation, Rodney believes that it doesn’t rectify the main issue. His wish now is to bring about a change ensuring that such an incident doesn’t recur for anyone else.
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