A disability advocate called Air Canada’s behaviour “criminal at worst” after the airline left a disabled woman stranded at Montreal airport.
The disabled woman, who did not wish to be identified, was planning to fly from Montreal to Charlottetown. The woman, who has muscular dystrophy, was not allowed to board her flight home because the aisle chair in use at Charlottetown has been out of service for some weeks.
Aisle chairs are commonly used to help passengers with severe reduced mobility take their seat on board the aircraft. Air Canada and Jazz smaller aircraft are not all equipped with on board aisle chairs and rely on airports' mobility devices.
To make things worse, the woman had to call her daughter who lives in Toronto to assist her after being left stranded in Montreal.
“I feel it’s negligible at the very least and criminal at the worst,” Marcia Carroll, executive director of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, told the Journalpioneer.com. “She was left, at 11:30 at night, in the Montreal airport. It’s horrible. If you didn’t have family or that kind of support, what would you do?”
A spokesperson for Air Canada confirmed that the aisle chair in use at Charlottetown airport has been out of order for the last couple of weeks, and that, to resolve the issue, Air Canada borrowed an aisle chair from another airline to meet future demand for this service.
“It’s something they should have a backup for at least. If it breaks, you can’t just say, ‘Oh well it’s broken, you can’t come home," Paul Cudmore, executive director of Spinal Cord Injury P.E.I., said.
Air Canada said arrangements are now being made to have a new aisle chair brought to Charlottetown airport.