Delta Airlines Loses, Then Damages, NYC Woman’s Wheelchair – NBC New York

There’s a staggering new statistic for airline passengers that has nothing to do with travel delays and goes way beyond lost luggage.

According to the US Department of Transportation, airlines on average damaged or destroyed 35 wheelchairs every single day during the month of May. That represents more than just a hassle for those travelers – it strips many of their mobility and freedom.

That includes 22-year-old Jessica Dalonzo, a recent college graduate from Queens. She earned her bachelor’s degree from her wheelchair, as she battled a host of life long syndromes including Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which leaves all of her joints dislocated.

After graduating, her proud parents took her to Disney World as a gift – but that fun vacation turned into a nightmare when she says Delta Airlines broke her custom wheel chair not once, but twice.

“I wanted to scream but I just sat there and hoped for the best,” Dalonzo said.

She said that when she and her family first arrived in Orlando, her wheelchair was broken, but her dad was able to fix it and they enjoyed their trip. Then on the way home, they landed at LaGuardia Airport and learned the wheelchair had been sent to Los Angeles by mistake.

“They did promise that my chair would arrive the next day, and they kept their promise,” said Dalonzo.

However, the way it arrived was more than problematic. It was so badly damaged, her father di lei wasn’t able to fix it this time. As a result, Dalonzo is left homebound until it gets repaired.

“I can’t sit up on my own so I have special cushions, special protection to hold me up,” Dalonzo said.

Her story is not unfamiliar. A man who uses a wheelchair told Business Insider he flew Delta all the way to Dublin, just to discover his wheelchair di lui was lost – and just like Dalonzo, on the way home it was broken.

“For many of us, our wheelchairs are our legs. We don’t have another means of getting around,” Dalonzo said. “Delta should really train their employees on how to handle medical equipment.”

In a statement Delta said that “while the majority of wheelchairs and scooters enplaned by Delta are not mishandled, we understand the frustration that comes when we fall short. We sincerely apologize for this customer’s experience and are affirmatively working with the customer to make things right via repairs and compensation. “

Delta also pointed to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer report, which showed in June Delta Lost or damaged less than one percent of wheelchairs on board, which is lower than most other airlines.

Dalonzo said Delta is going to pay to have her $ 30,000 chair repaired or replaced, which she is happy about. But what she really wants is for the airline to make sure no other disabled passenger has to go through this.

“Disabled people deserve to fly safely and comfortably without having to worry if our medical equipment will arrive,” she said.

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