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Poor treatment of elderly and disabled at GBIA
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 09:08

Freeport will have lost two tourists after how they were treated last week. I was traveling with my husband on the morning American Airlines flight to Miami, and witnessed an elderly gentleman checking in. He was obviously quite disabled, and once he had checked in, he hobbled over to where his wife was sitting in a wheelchair, near the entrance doors, and he sat in another chair. They were carrying their hand luggage, and appeared to be waiting for someone to push them. I was getting anxious for them, as departure time was looming, and you know how American can go if you are late!

Eventually, the elderly couple, obviously tired of waiting, slowly wheeled themselves towards security. By the time my husband and I had cleared security, the couple were in the immigration line, with their suitcases in front of them. The security personnel had helped them with the bags, but they were struggling to move in the line with their luggage. At this time we saw one of the airport porters, and my husband knew the guy, and asked him why the couple were being left to fend for themselves. He told us that American Airlines were supposed to take care of their disabled passengers, and that the porters had been told NOT to push them as AA do not pay for this service! If this couple had waited for the AA people, they would still
be in Freeport today! Anyway, the porter did take them through immigration and into the lounge, and only then did one of the AA agents push one chair to the plane and the porter pushed the other.

(My husband tipped the porter!)

This situation is an absolute disgrace. My parents are elderly and disabled, and recently traveled through Nassau, and were looked after really well by the airport personnel. I was so upset for the couple in Freeport, and I hope that some changes will be made with regards to how the disabled tourists are taken care of when they visit. Maybe a warning should be given not to fly with AA if you are disabled!


[Editor's Note: We contacted American Airlines via the customer service section of their web site. We advised them of this incident and asked if they had any comments; we received no response.]