Ground Handling

Airline staff caught throwing wheelchairs to the ground

A video has gone viral on social media showing airport baggage handlers throwing a wheelchair down a ramp and to the ground at Miami International Airport, sparking online outrage.

American Airlines is facing backlash after the carrier’s logo was seen printed on the back of the baggage handler caught throwing the wheelchair, which was described by one person as “infuriating”.

Uploaded to TikTok over the weekend, user @haez93 posted the footage with the caption: “After I saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs I had to get it on film. That is not what I’d call ‘handling with care’ for someone’s mobility device.”

The video has amassed more than 1.7 million views on TikTok, and the person who posted it has been praised for raising awareness of the incident by sharing it on social media.

It appears there is debris at the bottom of the ramp, suggesting damage to the wheelchairs.

@haez93 Dang, after i saw them do this and laugh with the first two wheelchairs i had to get it on film. That is not what id call “handling with care” for someones mobility device…. #AmericanAirlines #handlewithcare #mobilitydevice #wheelchair ♬ Oh No – Kreepa

One TikTok user commented: “Thank you for filming this – from a wheelchair user.” Another said: “As a wheelchair user, seeing this will stop me from ever travelling out of fear this will happen.”

Meanwhile, a third person wrote: “If he broke it, he would be very upset by how much money [the wheelchair] was worth. My chair cost 12 grand. No respect.”

In response to the footage going viral, an American Airlines spokesperson told USA Today: “We recognise how important it is to support the independence of customers with disabilities by ensuring the proper care of mobility devices throughout their journey with us.

“This visual is deeply concerning and we are gathering more details so that we can address them with our team. We will continue to work hard to improve our handling of assistive devices across our network.”

According to The Independent, data from the US Department for Transportation shows that more than 11,000 wheelchairs or mobility aids were damaged by US airlines last year.

Image credit: @haez93
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