Last month, Don and his wife flew to Florida on Direct Air out of the Niagara Falls, NY Airport. He says his initial problem was the airline's refusal to accommodate his special needs for a seat so that his prosthetic leg would fit. "They told me they're not required to give me a special seat, all they are required to do is provide me with a seat."
Fortunately, a passenger in the first row switched with Don.
According to the Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement, "an individual with a disability cannot be required to sit in a particular seat or be excluded from any seat, except as provided by FAA safety rules such as the FAA exit row seating rule."
Xtra Airways was the actual air carrier.
On the return trip, Don says his scooter was placed on the plane, but while he was seated, the grounds crew informed him that, "the pilot ordered us to take it apart. So we did. And I asked them, you took it apart, you don't even know how to do it. He goes, yeah, but we took it apart."
When he arrived in Niagara Falls, the scooter was damaged. Schultz said he got into a heated argument with the pilot. He says both were screaming. "I hate having to ask for special consideration I'm so embarrassed I don't like it."
While his wife was inside the airport filing the damage claim, Don was outside on the ground "trying to reassemble my broken scooter. I am struggling with it. I'm on the ground lifting the seat up, kind of leaning backwards because the seat is 45 pounds, I'm stumbling into the jet bridge, but the pilot was nice enough to hold my cane."
He claims the pilot asked him to hurry up because passengers were waiting to board the plane. "I said are you kidding me."
Xtra Airways told 2 On Your Side in a statement:
"we apologized to Mr. Schultz for any inconvenience and look forward to serving him on a future flight."
"Mr. Schultz's scooter was inadvertently damaged during transport. Xtra immediately had the damage assessed and authorized the purchase of a new scooter"
Direct Air spoke openly and candidlu with 2 On Your Side about Mr. Schult's issues. You can hear the entire interview with Kay Ellison, Direct Air Managing Partner.