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Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


The family feels this was entirely the fault of the airline, although according the the airline, when the family booked the reservation, "they did not indicate the passenger had 'Blind/low vision,' 'Deaf/hard of hearing,' or 'other special needs (i.e., developmental or intellectual disability, senior/elderly). There was no indication in the reservation that Ms. Kekona had cognitive, visual, or auditory impairments."

She was placed in a wheelchair, but not transported and she roamed the airport until she rolled her wheelchair to the top of an escalator, thinking it was an elevator. "Down approximately 21 escalator steps before she came to rest with the wheelchair still on top of her. She suffered a lengthy list of injuries and sent to the hospital."

]Article



Last edited by birdcharm, 12/30/2017, 2:27 am
12/29/2017, 8:45 pm Link to this post PM birdcharm Blog
 
mais oui Profile
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


sounds like its always some one elses fault (especially if there might be a dollar in it)

When I take my infirm (but fully with it ) mother to the airport I stay with her until I have handed her over to one of the staff who escort the infirm/disabled

If there had been a SNAFU with the booking of assistance it would have been discovered at the handover - it wasnt which suggests to me that there was no handover and this woman was simply abandoned to her fate at the airport by her family (or who ever took her to the airport)

BTW the link posted goes to a different story


12/29/2017, 11:34 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


I think there is something wrong with this story. Plus, there was mention that when the daughters flew to Portland to visit her in the hospital, they complained that the airlines hadn't sent an escort for them, I wasn't clear on what that was about.

The thing that I find disturbing is that their mother should have flagged someone down or get a ticket agent to help her out. Instead, she went wandering around and how do you mistake an escalator for an elevator?

Hopefully the link is fixed now, thank you. I checked the code and it was very similar to the article, but they must have switched some things around over at the site. So, for now anyway, that link should work.


12/30/2017, 2:32 am Link to this post PM birdcharm Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


She declined ongoing assistance at the airport, so when does their obligation stop, to give them no choice to whether you are disabled and need assistance and force it? To mistake escaltors for elevators is blind. Long ago I let my kids fly at 7 to my parents, wouldn't dream of it now or an elderly person disabled in my family either.
12/30/2017, 4:54 am Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


as unfortunate as this incident is, someone who can't tell the difference between an escalator and an elevator shouldn't be traveling alone.

When her reservation was made, her family did not check the box for assistance. She arrived in her own electric wheelchair and as you can see from the video was making her way to her gate.


i will warn you the video is upsetting.

[url][sign in to see URL]
12/30/2017, 7:48 am Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


I think it's ridiculous, imo, they're not seeking "justice for their grandma" -- it's these kinds of lawsuits that make us all pay higher prices and also makes it more difficult for legitimate lawsuits to be made for true victims. If the reservation did not inform the airline that she required special attention, then it's the fault of the family and they should take responsibility so they can get on with their lives. Also, they need to understand that grandma obviously could not think straight and required an assistant or nurse by her side, which neither she or her family had secured.




12/30/2017, 4:45 pm Link to this post PM birdcharm Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


IMO the family is guilty of neglect, something that they are in complete denial about. I'm sure their lawyers said Alaskan Air would settle out of court, to end bad publicity.

For the sake of other passengers i hope the lawsuit gets thrown out of court.

You are right, Birdcharm all it does it drive up the costs of tickets since all companies have to pass on the cost to its customers.

12/30/2017, 4:56 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


Our local news reported the family is also suing the company that provides wheelchair services at PDX, they also have not named a monetary amount for recompense but the 300k it cost for her medical treatment.
12/30/2017, 6:25 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


I agree that the story as reported makes no sense - its its an accurate representation of what happened then who ever left Ms. Kekona at the airport unaccompanied should be prosecuted for neglect (not the airport).

It is apparent form the reported story that Ms. Kekona is not only intellectually impaired but also visually impaired AND suffers from a high degree of mobility impairment.

It is also apparent that regardless of whether or not assistance had been booked she was not handed to someone who could have provided assistance (or told them that as it was not prebooked assistance would not be available).

Going only by the reports its difficult to see how (why) the air port had any responsibility to this woman beyond that which it has to every passenger.
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


She had family put her on the plane in Hawaii, PDX was her connecting flight, she lives in Spokane, WA, she was here to get the hopper. You have to fly from PDX or Seattle to get to Hawaii, that is why she was alone.
12/30/2017, 7:37 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


Ah! that puts it in a different light!
12/30/2017, 7:46 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


here'a the lawsuit. I see this as a money grab.


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Last edited by snowpixie, 12/31/2017, 12:22 am
12/31/2017, 12:20 am Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


quote:

I see this as a money grab.



I agree BUT based on that Lawsuit AA did have a duty of care which they failed to provide.

Personally if my family member was in the state that Ms. Kekona was in (intellectually) I wouldnt let her travel alone.

12/31/2017, 1:04 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


Neither would I but I bet the airline settles. Then again after hours on a plane as an employee would you not have known visually a 95 y.o. that was escorted by wheelchair status on your flight? This is what the FAA states, "Airlines my not require advance notice that a person with a disability is traveling." Alaska states call us or let us know at the boarding gate. I bet they did, there is nothing I read in Alaska rules that states, fill out the card or your screwed. In all honesty when I watched the video, I'd be upset enough to sue as well, it's gross.
12/31/2017, 5:35 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


I don't think this woman should have been flying alone and feel it's irresponsible to have allowed her to. The airlines should be able to determine if a passenger is a risk to themselves or to others and not allow them on the plane, imo.

12/31/2017, 5:57 pm Link to this post PM birdcharm Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


 I can't find faulty in AS or the contractor for letting her go off on her own if she said she was fine to do so, since she probably did feel OK being on her scooter at that moment.

 elderly people can do a lot on their own ... usually more than us "regular" folks give them credit for, BUT occasionally when they want to go off on their own it takes someone close to them to say, "NO!"

If any good can come out of this sad situation, maybe it will make people think twice and spend the extra money to travel with their vulnerable loved ones. You can't count on strangers to know your relative's needs, abilities and idiosyncrasies as much as you do.
12/31/2017, 6:31 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


At the original gate in Hawaii that should have all been handled. If the card was that important, why didn't they have the family fill it out? An airline cannot refuse a person with a disability of any kind unless they are "inimical to the safety of the flight." What if you sent your little kid, they didn't fill the card out and kid went missing? I think when you accept a passenger you have taken on that responsibility. I'm beginning to change my mind on the airlines culpability just looking at the women without her injuries as a passenger I would have given her aid if I saw her wheeling herself around, even if it was just walking by her.
12/31/2017, 6:34 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


quote:

katie5445 wrote:

Neither would I but I bet the airline settles. Then again after hours on a plane as an employee would you not have known visually a 95 y.o. that was escorted by wheelchair status on your flight? This is what the FAA states, "Airlines my not require advance notice that a person with a disability is traveling." Alaska states call us or let us know at the boarding gate. I bet they did, there is nothing I read in Alaska rules that states, fill out the card or your screwed. In all honesty when I watched the video, I'd be upset enough to sue as well, it's gross.



not sure what you mean.

[sign in to see URL]. just requires that a psgr walk to and from their seat unassisted. If you can't then the airline would of denied her boarding until she presented a traveling companion. All they care about is making sure someone help them off the plane in case of emergency.

She was able to walk on and off unassisted.
When they brought her scooter to her. They asked her if she needed help. She said no.

If someone says they don't need help. You respect their wishes. You certainly don't argue with them. They are the customer.
12/31/2017, 6:40 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


quote:

katie5445 wrote:

At the original gate in Hawaii that should have all been handled. If the card was that important, why didn't they have the family fill it out? An airline cannot refuse a person with a disability of any kind unless they are "inimical to the safety of the flight." What if you sent your little kid, they didn't fill the card out and kid went missing? I think when you accept a passenger you have taken on that responsibility. I'm beginning to change my mind on the airlines culpability just looking at the women without her injuries as a passenger I would have given her aid if I saw her wheeling herself around, even if it was just walking by her.



unaccompanied minors is a paid service, that the airlines handles because the airlines is in control. it is not a courtesy, such as giving assistance to the elderly or infirm since each airport set up differently. bottom line 3rd party contractors are in control of the staff and may not have enough people to handle everyone requesting service. apples and oranges.


Last edited by snowpixie, 12/31/2017, 7:09 pm
12/31/2017, 6:44 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


I keep reading different stuff, first it was airlines only have a responsibility to the disabled when boarding, on the plane then leaving. "US legislation, places responsibility for delivery, services and facilities to disabled persons on the airline."
12/31/2017, 7:39 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


Katie, i hope this doesn't sound insulting, but perhaps you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what you get when you request wheelchair assistance - all you are getting is transport to/from the gate/plane. It is not like children traveling alone where the airline becomes your guardian/caretaker and is responsible for your well being. All the wheelchair assistant is going to do is drop you off at the gate and move on to the next person they have to transport. no one is going to accompany and maintain oversight over the wheelchair traveler for their entire layover/journey. If a person needs that higher level of care - they need to have someone travel with them.

I wanted to add, from experience it's not uncommon for people who have their own scooter to refuse any additional assistance once they're safely seated in their own scooter and sadly that's what appears to have occurred here.

PDX really needs to start installing bollards.
1/1/2018, 6:16 am Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: Alaska Airlines sued by family of handicapped woman


quote:

when you request wheelchair assistance - all you are getting is transport to/from the gate/plane



that is pretty much my experience when my mother flies, we take her to the checkin desk, lodge her hold luggage then we take her to a room where is is met by her helper who places her on a wheelchair (my mother can walk but the distances involved would be taxing for her - and she is very slow)and they taker her through security into the airside lounge stay with her until the flight is called when they take her out side into a lift which raises her to the level of the plane, once seated the helper leaves and mother is on her own until landing when the process operates in reverse with the helper staying until someone collects her.

As I said earlier my mother is infirm but has all her mental faculties - the women in the OP seems to not have all her mental faculties so I do wonder if she should have traveled alone.

My fear with my mother is always about what if there is an incident and the plane has to be evacuated she would be unable to cope and so would certainly die OK that I accept but I would hate to think her infirmity would cause the death of others
1/1/2018, 10:19 am Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 


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