When disabled, accessibility travel blogger Cory Lee landed in Atlanta, Georgia on November 13, he insisted on waiting on the plane until his wheelchair arrived at the jet bridge since he is "unable to sit upright in an aisle chair for an extended period of time." But unsympathetic flight attendants did not take kindly to his request and tried using scare tactics by saying the TSA would would force him off "with all their guns" if he didn't comply (see video below).
But waiting on the plane was his right under the Air Carrier Access Act, according to Yahoo!, "which allows a passenger to remain seated until their wheelchair is brought to them."
Lee, who has been using a wheelchair nearly all his life after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a toddler, says he's flown into Atlanta hundreds of times and has never had a problem receiving his wheelchair before — let alone been threatened with guns the way he was.
"I don't know why they were so adamant about not bringing it today, but to threaten us with guns?! What in the world?!"
According to the US transportation department, the law mandates airlines return wheelchairs to users as closely as possible to the door of the aircraft, if requested.
Mr Lee said it can take nearly an hour for his chair to get to the jet bridge and explained that the aisle chair used to transport wheelchair users to their own wheelchairs is uncomfortable for him. …
"They were talking to each other, saying, 'He just doesn't want to get off the plane'," Mr Lee said.
"Believe me, I definitely wanted to get off the plane."
He added that the altercation escalated when a flight attendant asked him to exit and wait for his wheelchair or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would make him "get off the aircraft with all their guns and stuff". …
"I have had a lot of wild travel experiences across 40 countries over the past nine years, but this one was hands-down the worst of all," he added.
Delta Airlines said in a statement that they "are reviewing what occurred here and will follow up as appropriate with our people." They have also allegedly reached out to Lee to hear his side of the story, and to apologize.