Disabled hip hop artist crawls to her seat after American Airlines doesn't give her ramp to get on plane

Ms Theresa Purcell is suing for $2.5 million after a ramp was not provided for her wheelchair

Louis Dore
Sunday 07 June 2015 16:50

A disabled hip hop artist is suing American Airlines for $2.5 million for failing to provide a ramp for her to board an aeroplane, which meant she had to crawl to her seat.

Theresa Purcell says she had to crawl in front of more than fifty people to hear seat while boarding the commuter flight to San Diego.

"I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane," she said. "Is today another time where I have to climb onto an airplane again, where all these people have to watch me embarrass myself again, and I gotta be there, hoping please, I hope I never see these people again?"

American Airlines has apologised to Ms Purcell, who says she told American Airlines in advance of her wheelchair requirements and claims the company has refused to issue any compensation.

The company has said in a statement: "Thank you for your letter of demand on behalf of Theresa Purcell. American Airlines will not be issuing any compensation for your client’s injuries claim."

A previous statement from the company had apologised to Ms Purcell.

"On behalf of US Airways and American Airlines, please accept our apologies for the difficulties Ms. Purcell experienced with her request for level entry boarding," said Christy Garden, Department of Travel Liaison, Customer Relations, American Airlines/US Airways Corporate Office said.

"We regret that a ramp was not requested so Ms Purcell would be able to board the aircraft without going up the stairs, assistance should have been provided shortly thereafter. Based on what you have shared, it appears our employees didn’t provide the attentive, courteous and professional service we expect as a company."

Ms Purcell is suing the company under the Air Carrier Access Act, which protects people with disabilities and American Airlines themselves admitted they had breached.

American Airlines has been contacted for comment.

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