Pat Foran CTV News Toronto Consumer Alert Videojournalist
An Ontario man said traveling during a pandemic is difficult enough without an airline sending his wheelchair to the wrong country.
“I waited for about a half hour and they said your wheelchair is not here, either we ship it tonight or tomorrow and ‘I thought here we go again,’” said Anthony Tompros of Toronto.
Tompros said he was returning from Greece after undergoing fours months of therapy in the salt waters and sunshine of the Greek islands to improve his health.
When his Air Canada flight touched down in Toronto, he was told his wheelchair didn’t make the trip with him.
Tompros says his custom-made wheelchair had gone missing before on flights and said if it is ever lost it would take him eight months to get a new one.
“I need my chair. It’s my legs, like I was trapped stuck on the bed. I just wanted my chair back so I can sit in it and move around,” said Tompros.
Air Canada was able to track down his wheelchair, which ended up on a flight to Germany. It was sent back to Toronto five days later, but had been damaged.
“They delivered it and it came damaged. My backrest was broken completely, the seat was missing the cushion part and the front wheel was also damaged,” said Tompros.
Tompros was told to file a claim, but he said he would rather the wheelchair be repaired right away.
“I would like my chair to be fixed immediately, for sure, start from there. Just take care of it more, like I mean its a wheelchair and they just, I assume they just throw it in there and load things on top of it,” said Tompros.
CTV News Toronto reached out to Air Canada and a spokesperson said in a statement “The customer was travelling on a connection flight involving another carrier that stopped in Munich, where the chair misconnected and it took additional time as it had to be sent on another flight to Toronto.”
“Nonetheless, it is a regrettable situation that we recognize caused inconvenience and we are dealing with the customer directly, including ensuring the proper repair of his mobility device. We successfully carry tens of thousands of customers with disabilities every year, and we know how vital mobility devices are, so we do our utmost to avoid events such as this.”
Unfortunately wheelchairs are often damaged during flights. In the United States an "Air Travel Consumer Report" found that 29 wheelchairs are lost or damaged by airlines every day and that about 15,000 have been damaged over the past three years.
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