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A man was bedbound for 19 hours after an airline broke his wheelchair in Boston and then refused to load it onto a plane in Charlotte, NC, he and his New Jersey wife said on social media.
Matt Wetherbee, age 34, tweeted from a bed during a layover at Charlotte Douglas International Airport that American’s crew at Boston Logan International Airport had damaged his chair.
Then, the crew in Charlotte refused to load it onto the plane he was boarding with wife and Kaitlyn Kiely — an Old Tappan, NJ native — due to a lack of space. The couple made headlines in 2018, when Keily pushed Wetherbee 26.2 miles through the Boston Marathon.
After my chair was damaged twice on 2 separate @AmericanAir flights, grounds crew in Charlotte refused to load it in cargo because there was too much other luggage (federal violation). Still don’t have chair 16hrs later. #AmericanAirlines
A post shared by Matt Wetherbee (@mwetherbee)
The airline apparently told the couple that they could either get off the plane or get on without the chair.
Wetherbee, who lost the use of his legs during a freak basketball accident in 2016, depends on the $60,000 electric chair to get around.
Meantime, the airline pushed Wetherbee off the plane in his shower chair, which he cannot stay in for more than an hour.
“This is absolutely deplorable,” Kiely said on Instagram. “Do you really want to be known as the airline who deprived a quadriplegic of not only his basic human rights, but you have made it so he never wants to fly again.”
By the time Wetherbee’s chair was delivered, 19 hours later it was completely broken, Kiely said.
An enraged Kiely said what the airline did was a federal violation.
American Airlines issued the following statement to the Daily Mail:
“We strive to provide a safe and enjoyable experience to all of our customers, including those who fly with wheelchairs and assistive devices, and we sincerely regret that Mr. Wetherbee had a negative experience with us.”
A post shared by Kaitlyn Kiely (@kkiely14)
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