A disabled woman flight to Europe from Atlanta aboard Delta Air Lines turned in a degrading experience that goes beyond the pale.
Maria Saliagas was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago but that didn’t stop her from taking annual trips with her husband. Saliagas’ son, Nathan Saliagas, called the airline to make proper arrangements for his mother’s special wheelchair prior to her flight.
Saliagas can’t sit on the chair herself because of the MS and she has to be strapped on a wheelchair for support. However, the airline didn’t have the special wheelchair. And what they did next was nothing short of inhumane.
After reaching Amsterdam, the airline put the disabled woman in a wheelchair that had no straps. They tied her tightly to the wheelchair with a dirty blanket that belonged to someone else. She wasn’t even properly tied to the wheelchair and as a result got bruised.
“They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying. That’s when that picture was taken,” said her son, explaining that the airlines misconduct left his mother crying in pain from her injuries.
Nathan tagged journalists and Delta Air Lines on Twitter sharing his mother’s ordeal. He also posted about the torture his mother had to go through in a Facebook post.
“The Delta employee thought it would be appropriate to tie my mother with someone else's dirty blanket, in such a way it has left bruise marks on her arms. When she started crying, she was told to 'shut the f**k up' or she will be 'left there.' This highly inhumane and disgusting treatment by Delta Airlines is unacceptable and a need for change,” he wrote.
Delta Air Lines offered 20,000 free miles to the Saliagas to make up for their mistake.
“We are disappointed that our customers didn’t have a satisfying travel experience and will ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations,” the airline stated. “While Delta always looks for ways to improve the overall customer experience, our findings do not align with details shared by the customer’s family.”
However, the woman doesn’t want this concession. She wants the airline to implement policies for handling disabled people carefully.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz