Paraplegic United passenger: ‘I had to scoot down the aisle on my butt’

A paraplegic man says he had difficulty traveling on several United flights for his honeymoon and had to scoot down the aisle on several occasions after the airline was unable to provide the narrow wheelchair necessary to transport him off the plane.

Tyler Schilhabel, a California high school football coach, recounted the incidents in a Facebook post Thursday and to ABC.

He first encountered a hiccup on a layover at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, when a flight attendant had to carry him off the plane to make sure he made his connecting flight. But the situation escalated on the following flight.

“Courtney and I flew to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, when we landed they didn’t have an aisle chair (my normal chair is too wide to take on the plane) or ramp/elevator to help me off the plane, only a flight of stairs,” he wrote on Facebook. “So I had to scoot down the aisle on my butt to get off and then hop down step by step to get to my chair.”

He clarified to ABC that United eventually provided him with an aisle chair, but that did not help him when it came to making his way down the stairs. Schilhabel told the outlet he declined the airline’s offer to have someone carry him.

“I had to scoot on my bottom all the way to the front of the plane, and when we realized there wasn’t a ramp or anything else, my wife and I just decided, no, it’s not safe. We don’t trust them to carry me down the flight of stairs, so we just hopped down. She grabbed my legs, and I hopped down step by step on my bottom,” he told ABC.

He added on Facebook that he was similarly disappointed with the airline when he landed in Chicago after the honeymoon. 

“THEN today on our way home for our connecting flight in Chicago they didn’t have an aisle chair again except this time we were in the very back of the plane so I once again had to scoot all the way down on my butt,” he wrote. “I know everybody has travel horror stories, but this was completely ridiculous.”

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