Apparently, US Airlines are in trouble as staff allegedly destroyed the custom-made wheelchair that belonged to a young man who suffers from a severe spinal condition.
24-year old Valentin Duthion, a native of France, was on his way to the US on the New Jersey bound flight, with friends. He had left his chair, which weighs about 500lbs and costs $42,000, in the care of airline staff.
Lucie, Duthion’s sister said, “This is how @united airline accompanies people with disabilities,” Lucie tweeted alongside a video of the damaged chair. “Armchair destroyed (37,000€), trip to the USA wasted. Shameful #RT.”
Lucie told press that they and friends had been planning the 27-day US trip for months. Duthion has spinal muscular atrophy which requires the use of a mechanical wheelchair so he can get around.
United Airlines told press that they have contacted the passengers and will be paying for the chair’s repair and will be upgrading the group’s return flight.
“We have been in contact with our customer, and have provided him with a loaner wheelchair to use during his vacation.” officials said in the statement.
Requirements Not Met
Friends say that the chair does not meet Duthion’s needs.
“Val will not have his chair until the end of the day,” the group wrote in French in a Facebook update. “We have a loan chair, but Val doesn’t fit in that. He can’t drive it.”
Lucie shares that if they had refused to take the inadequate chair, they would have had to sign a waiver saying “we refused the help of United Airlines.”
It seems most likely that Duthion won’t receive his chair before the end of the trip. The group is determined however not to let this hold them back from enjoying their trip.