Did Virgin Atlantic Discriminate Against A Traveler With A Disability?

Did Virgin Atlantic Discriminate Against A Traveler With A Disability?

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A reader brought a story to my attention about a traveler with a disability who was denied boarding on a Virgin Atlantic flight. While I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been, was this a case of discrimination, or just inconsistent enforcement of published policies?

Virgin Atlantic denies traveler boarding over mobility

This incident involves a woman who was intending to fly on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, from New York to London on Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic ended up denying her boarding because she’d be unable to self evacuate in the event of an emergency. Here’s a summary of what the traveler describes:

  • The traveler arrived at the Virgin Atlantic check-in counter at JFK with her mother, to check-in for her flight to LHR; the ticket had been purchased through Delta, which is a joint venture partner
  • When the traveler advised that she was traveling alone, several agents got involved, and one asked if she’d be able to self evacuate in the event of an emergency, which she had never been asked before
  • They asked if the traveler could walk, use the restroom, and/or self evacuate, and she explained that she couldn’t walk or self evacuate, but could use the restroom
  • A manager eventually informed the traveler that she’d be unable to fly alone if she couldn’t self evacuate
  • She explained to the manager that she had just flown Delta alone a couple of weeks prior without issue
  • In an effort to find a solution, the Virgin Atlantic employees asked if the traveler’s mother could fly with her
  • The traveler asked for this policy in writing, and the Virgin Atlantic employees weren’t able to provide it

Discrimination or inconsistent enforcement?

The traveler is stating that Virgin Atlantic discriminated against her, and that the airline needs to be held accountable. Let me start by saying that I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been for the traveler, and even how embarrassing it can be to be singled out and be denied boarding when you feel like you’re being discriminated against.

Travel is stressful enough for people under normal circumstances, let alone when you have to deal with matters like this. That sucks, plain and simple, especially when you’ve flown alone in the past without issue.

So, were the Virgin Atlantic representatives acting completely out of line, or what happened here?

It appears that Delta and Virgin Atlantic both do have published policies regarding this, stating that you may be denied boarding if you’re unable to self evacuate. And this isn’t just some fine print in the contract of carriage, but in both cases it’s on the pages about travelers requiring special assistance.

Here’s Virgin Atlantic’s published policy:

“If you would have severe difficulties in emergency situations we may ask you to travel with a safety assistant.”

Meanwhile here’s Delta’s published policy:

At the airport on the day of departure, Delta may require that you arrange for a personal care assistant or safety assistant to accompany you in the following circumstances:

– When you are unable to comprehend or respond to safety related instructions
– When you have both a hearing and vision disability that prevents you from establishing a means of communication with Delta personnel sufficient to receive the safety briefing
– When you have a mobility disability that physically prevents you from assisting in your own evacuation during an emergency

With that in mind, a few thoughts:

  • While this puts people with disabilities in a difficult (and very costly) situation, from a safety perspective I can understand the logic that those who can’t self evacuate may be required to have someone travel with them who can assist them in the event of an evacuation
  • The language around this with both Delta and Virgin Atlantic is open-ended, as the airlines saying that they “may” require you to arrange a personal care assistant gives employees a lot of discretion; clearly there’s a lot of inconsistency, because the traveler had no issues on previous flights
  • The Virgin Atlantic agents should have been able to point to this policy in writing, which they allegedly weren’t able to do

Personally I don’t think the Virgin Atlantic employees were “discriminating” against the traveler, in the sense that they were just trying to follow the company’s policy, which has merit in terms of safety.

That doesn’t change the fact that this is a super complicated matter, and that the inconsistency with enforcement is an issue. Travelers shouldn’t be booking tickets and then rolling the dice as to whether or not they’ll be able to fly, based on the decision of an individual employee. Furthermore, the employees should have been able to point to this policy in writing, because it is published on both carriers’ websites.

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic denied boarding to a traveler who wouldn’t have been able to self evacuate. This is no doubt a complicated matter, and sums up the inconsistency of policy enforcement in the airline industry.

What do you make of this incident — was Virgin Atlantic out of line?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Andrew Casey Guest

    I feel very ley down by Virgin Atlabtic as I have a disability: asthma. For years they have provided oxygen on the flight for free. They have dropped this service and recommend a provider on their site which charges £250 a week. I can't afford that and only need as a back up on the flight only. I don't mind paying. RYAN AIR charge £55 flight only which is OK. Sad as Virgin were so good to those with disabilities

  2. polarbear Member

    Pure guess and speculation: somewhere in the paperwork there is something like "by checking in you confirm that you can self-evacuate". In Most cases people say nothing and they can board. This particular passenger willingly or accidentally said something to the contrary - so the agent had to push for the answer on "can you evacuate" and when the passenger explicitly said no, they had to enforce the rule.

  3. DEE Guest

    I do not blame them . WHat families do is dump off grandma in a wheelchair and the FA's or other passangers have to get them into seats and I have seen them even carry them to the bathroom.....Unacceptable,, I have also seen Altzheimers patients (alone)were get very paranoid and difficult durong flights hard to handle for anyone not just FA's.,

  4. Tennen Gold

    I'm wondering what the threshold is for being able to self-evacuate. I've seen videos of travelers in wheelchairs, and many seem to require an airplane wheelchair to board/disembark. That process definitely requires some level of assistance. Yet, a lot of these same people travel on their own, without an aide. Many can transfer themselves from a seat to a wheelchair on their own, so like this woman, they can't walk or self-evacuate but can use...

    I'm wondering what the threshold is for being able to self-evacuate. I've seen videos of travelers in wheelchairs, and many seem to require an airplane wheelchair to board/disembark. That process definitely requires some level of assistance. Yet, a lot of these same people travel on their own, without an aide. Many can transfer themselves from a seat to a wheelchair on their own, so like this woman, they can't walk or self-evacuate but can use the lavatories without assistance.

    I remember watching a British woman's video on YouTube, and it was on VS. She could NOT walk or self-evacuate, but she could go to the lavatory. VS let her fly solo...

  5. Sel, D. Guest

    No @ discrimination. It’s federal law - an airline may require an assistant if “A passenger with a mobility impairment so severe that the person is unable to physically assist in his or her own evacuation of the aircraft”

    Been following this blog for years which has enabled me to do things I never would be able to do otherwise, which I’m thankful for, but this article is a new low.

  6. OCD Thinkin Member

    This isn't simply 'policy', it comes from 14 CFR Part 382, the Air Carrier Access Act, civil rights legislation for equal access to air travel. Take a look here: https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-14/chapter-II/subchapter-D/part-382/subpart-B/section-382.19 and here: https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-14/chapter-II/subchapter-D/part-382/subpart-B/section-382.29 to gain further insight.

    1. Jetjock64 Guest

      There's nothing in the regulations REQUIRING a carrier to refuse carriage to a disabled person under certain circumstances, but carriers are given "permissive refusal" under 49 USC S. 44902 (b), where the carrier might deem carriage "inimical to safety." The carrier could quite justifiably interpret this provision to allow it to refuse carriage to a person whose own personal safety is at risk in an evacuation--as would be the case for a person who is...

      There's nothing in the regulations REQUIRING a carrier to refuse carriage to a disabled person under certain circumstances, but carriers are given "permissive refusal" under 49 USC S. 44902 (b), where the carrier might deem carriage "inimical to safety." The carrier could quite justifiably interpret this provision to allow it to refuse carriage to a person whose own personal safety is at risk in an evacuation--as would be the case for a person who is immobile and is sitting in a burning plane. Unfortunate for the person who wants to "assume the risk," which is quite minimal, but this law gives the carrier last word.

  7. Airfarer Diamond

    How is her mother, who unless the traveler is a very slightly built female, going to help any evacuation? You have an almost deadweight person, who once they manage to get into the aisle is, due to lack of mobility, going to block everyone else from evacuation.
    Sure it meets the rules but doesn't seem very effective.

    1. Hobbs Guest

      The argument that a woman may not be able to assist in a disabled person's evacuation kind of supports the airline's policy because if not the mother, then who?

  8. exfa Guest

    as an ex FA it was always the case that passenger who need assistance were informed they had to take a window seat so not to block other peoples exit, and that they may be left behind if an emergency evacuation happened.

  9. Wendi Guest

    Yes it’s discrimination! No other minority group would be denied boarding, there would be uproar! It’s easier to change our vocabulary around other minority groups with a protected characteristic however changing the way we treat people with disabilities costs companies money.
    Using the health and safety discussion around this is unacceptable for disabled people. Measures should be put in place by the aviation industry to enable disabled people to travel.

    1. Watson Gold

      Measures are in place. A safety assistant is provided a seat free of charge.

      Quit pretending that this is the same as denying someone boarding based on other minority status.

  10. Owen Guest

    With British Airways, they have the same requirement. If you are unable to self-evacuate, you must travel with a safety assistant. If British Airways does require you to travel with an assistant, they would provide the seat to the assistant free of charge. I am not too sure if the policy is the same as Virgin, but I would assume that it is similar.

    This is completely in line with US, and UK disability laws.

  11. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    What does the ADA say? Are airlines required to board all disabled passengers? I don't see any special reserved handicapped areas on planes like at stadiums (usually the shitiest areas). What's the law? The way airlines pack them in these days, why would a disabled person want to fly? I know, they should reserve a section of first class or business for disabled people! Problem solved!

    1. John Guest

      Calm down, Joooooorge! Don't forget to take your meds, Jooorge!

  12. dander Guest

    They need to be consistant. Many flights have people on wheel chairs traveling alone. No way in an emergency will most people help them. Not sure what happened, it could be agents being jerks, or the passanger being a jerk and the agents going by the book. Far too often we don't get all sides of the story

  13. D3kingg Guest

    Since it was in the US this is violation of ADA. 1000%. Was the flight oversold or something ?

    1. Karen Guest

      No it isn’t. The ADA doesn’t apply to the airlines. The ADA is expressly preempted by the Air Carrier Access Act which gives the airlines the right to limit access for safety reasons.

  14. philelltt Member

    I travel with my disabled partner. Usually when I book there is a box to tick saying we need special assistance. That takes me to some more pages where I describe the problem and our needs. Then I have to click a box to agree it is the truth. And then I can proceed to finalise the booking. Prior to departure, I get an email confirming things. At the airport we check in at customer...

    I travel with my disabled partner. Usually when I book there is a box to tick saying we need special assistance. That takes me to some more pages where I describe the problem and our needs. Then I have to click a box to agree it is the truth. And then I can proceed to finalise the booking. Prior to departure, I get an email confirming things. At the airport we check in at customer service and it all happens. They take care of the big bags we've paid for, sometimes offer to check in the hand luggage free, always allocate seats near the front, or near the toilet. They try to give us a free seat between us, but always an aisle seat for my partner. They give me a wheelchair to push. At security, they are ok these days, but always check the wheelchair for bombs and drugs. I wouldn't dream of just turning up to the airport and say my partner needs assistance and leave him there for them to sort out. We get to board first so my partner is settled and doesn't get in the way of the rest of you when you board. We pay for tickets just same as you, but seat allocation is free of charge. With some airlines, I need to send them an email after booking to confirm that.

  15. jsm Guest

    This is the type of problem that is arising more frequently when people act as their own travel agents. I don't know anyone who has ever read the terms of carriage - they simply go online and look for the cheapest fair. Self evacuate? Passport expiring within 6 months of international travel? Flying through the US to go to Mexico?

    For any circumstance that would be different from simply main stream travel, a good travel agent can save a world of hurt.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And a bad travel agent can send you through the same hell.

      I also don't know any travel agent who has ever read the terms of carriage.

      The necessity of a Travel agent is irrelevant.
      Travel agents are heading for extinction.

  16. FlightAAtendant Guest

    As a flight attendant for large US based carrier, I can definitely understand and agree with Virgin/Delta’s policy.
    In the event of an evacuation, should the traveler with a disability be unable to evacuate, the task would be left up to us… which then hinders our duties of carrying out the evacuation procedures for the other 200 passengers.
    That being said, I understand the fact that there are grey areas in this policy...

    As a flight attendant for large US based carrier, I can definitely understand and agree with Virgin/Delta’s policy.
    In the event of an evacuation, should the traveler with a disability be unable to evacuate, the task would be left up to us… which then hinders our duties of carrying out the evacuation procedures for the other 200 passengers.
    That being said, I understand the fact that there are grey areas in this policy and that it can be extremely frustrating for travelers with a disability not knowing if they will be able to travel alone. There needs to be clear and precise language going forward

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @FlightAAtendant

      ADA. I would hate to have to work or fly with a lil miss know it all like yourself.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      There is no requirement that a flight attendant divert their attention from caring from the 49 able bodied passengers they are mathematically responsible for to take care of one passenger that knowingly boarded the flight unable to evacuate themselves in an emergency.
      The FlightAAtendant is right.

    3. D3kingg Guest

      @Tim Dunn

      At the least the flightAAtendant believes they are right. Self confidence is a good managerial leadership skill.

    4. Patti Guest

      @D3kingg

      ADA not applicable on airlines. People scream ADA all the time but never spend 5 seconds looking it up and realizing the ADA doesn't regulate air travel discrimination.

    5. Dan77W Guest

      What does the ADA have anything to do with this incident? You keep using those letters and many keep telling you the ADA does not apply to air carriage. Educate yourself on the ACAA.

  17. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The fact that she didn't get asked by Delta about her ability to self-evacuate in an emergency doesn't make it discriminatory for another airline - Delta partner or not - to ask that question.
    If the passenger can't fully assure the airline that they can care for themselves at all points during the travel, including possible evacuation, they shouldn't be traveling alone.
    I find it hard to understand how people drop off people...

    The fact that she didn't get asked by Delta about her ability to self-evacuate in an emergency doesn't make it discriminatory for another airline - Delta partner or not - to ask that question.
    If the passenger can't fully assure the airline that they can care for themselves at all points during the travel, including possible evacuation, they shouldn't be traveling alone.
    I find it hard to understand how people drop off people at the airport who they would never leave to defend themselves anywhere else and expect the airline to care for them - be it seniors, children or the disabled.

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Exactly Mr. Dunn. I'm disabled and I never put myself in the care of strangers. It's just stupid.....

    2. John Guest

      Joooorge, you do realize don't you, that every time you put yourself in a taxi, airplane, restaurant, hotel, motel, theater, cafe, museum, gallery, hospital, etc. etc. etc. that you ARE placing yourself into the "care of strangers"!?
      Logic is not for everyone, I know. But here is a simple solution for you: Stop. Breathe. THINK. Before you speak.

  18. uldguy Diamond

    So what? No mobility-challenged person is allowed to travel unaccompanied by air? I would think the Americans With Disabilities Act would have something to say about that. i trust that Delta and Virgin legal beagles have reviewed this policy for ADA compliance. If nothing else it goes against the spirit of the ADA.

    1. Murray Guest

      The ADA doesn't apply to airlines - that's the Air Carrier Access Act.

    2. Jeffrey Chang Guest

      "So what? No mobility-challenged person is allowed to travel unaccompanied by air?"

      Sure, they just need to be able to self evacuate.

      "I would think the Americans With Disabilities Act would have something to say about that."

      You would find that under reasonable accommodation.

    3. uldguy Diamond

      If only it were that simple. What’s reasonable accommodation is subject to interpretation. The ADA is not the most easy document to understand let alone apply.

  19. Golfingboy Guest

    It has been awhile so I could be wrong but in the past I knew a DeafBlind guy who always had someone traveling with him to interpret and provide guidance support when necessary.

    The support passenger flies at no cost to the DeafBlind passenger. Yes there is more work involved as they have to provide documentation, identify an individual willing to provide support services, and coordinate with the airline in advance of travel, but...

    It has been awhile so I could be wrong but in the past I knew a DeafBlind guy who always had someone traveling with him to interpret and provide guidance support when necessary.

    The support passenger flies at no cost to the DeafBlind passenger. Yes there is more work involved as they have to provide documentation, identify an individual willing to provide support services, and coordinate with the airline in advance of travel, but this should not cost the primary passenger anything.

  20. LarryInNYC Diamond

    Clearly there was discrimination; the airlines' policies clearly states that disabled passengers are treated differently and may require an assistant. The question is whether the discrimination is reasonable and legal.

    I guess I don't really have an opinion about whether airlines should or should not fly people who would have difficulty evacuating the plane. But if they do they should have a clear policy that does not leave the passenger guessing whether they'll be allowed...

    Clearly there was discrimination; the airlines' policies clearly states that disabled passengers are treated differently and may require an assistant. The question is whether the discrimination is reasonable and legal.

    I guess I don't really have an opinion about whether airlines should or should not fly people who would have difficulty evacuating the plane. But if they do they should have a clear policy that does not leave the passenger guessing whether they'll be allowed on the plane, and they should consider all aspects of the ability to evacuate including ability to understand crewmember instructions in the language(s) of the flight crew and also sobriety.

    This issue must come up all the time since I imagine the same determination must be made whenever someone requires assistance on and off the plane which seems to happen on something like half the flights I take.

    1. Tiffany OMAAT

      @ LarryInNYC @ uldguy -- To my understanding, @ Golfingboy is correct, and the requirement for an attendant (who in this case should not have to pay for their ticket) is considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the ADA.

      The frustration I've heard over the years from disability advocates is the lack of knowing when/if/how this will be required, leading to situations like this one.

      And 100% agree with you on sobriety. I've sat by so...

      @ LarryInNYC @ uldguy -- To my understanding, @ Golfingboy is correct, and the requirement for an attendant (who in this case should not have to pay for their ticket) is considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the ADA.

      The frustration I've heard over the years from disability advocates is the lack of knowing when/if/how this will be required, leading to situations like this one.

      And 100% agree with you on sobriety. I've sat by so many sales guys on Thursday evening flights who could barely ambulate by the time we arrived.

    2. Ken Guest

      Just here to say we haven't seen a post from Tiffany in eons. Hoping to read a piece from you soon

    3. Tiffany OMAAT

      @ Ken -- Thanks :) I miss writing, just a lot going on with ::waves generally::. Hopefully soon.

    4. tuotuo Member

      Just curious.If the passenger with disability paid for ONE business class seat will the support passenger get a free business class seat as well?If not,how could the support passenger provide any support from economy class?

    5. Golfingboy Guest

      That is an interesting question - it's my opinion that the support passenger should be granted a seat in the same class of service that the individual who requires support paid.

      Its not just for evacuation purposes but let's say a DeafBlind individual is seated in business. The FA won't know how to communicate and take the individual's drink/food orders. The menus do not have braille and none of the IFE are accessible either. And...

      That is an interesting question - it's my opinion that the support passenger should be granted a seat in the same class of service that the individual who requires support paid.

      Its not just for evacuation purposes but let's say a DeafBlind individual is seated in business. The FA won't know how to communicate and take the individual's drink/food orders. The menus do not have braille and none of the IFE are accessible either. And in the case of emergencies passengers are required to remain in their assigned seats and take the necessary preparation steps. How can the support person provide support if they are seated in a separate cabin? In emergencies the masks may drop and the captain will be providing instructions - how is the individual is supposed to know what to do. What if that person is quadriplegic who is going to put the mask on in the event of air pressure lost let alone assist the individual in evacuation?

      I am 99% sure that the support individual gets a free adjacent seat in whatever cabin the primary person paid to fly, however, airlines do need to make the guidelines public and ensure the guidelines are clear. Same thing with emotional support animals. However, there may be some concerns of abuse as there is no real clear line when it comes to disabilities. A lot of it varies across individuals even if the disabilities are the same - really depends on what the individual feels appropriate for their needs.

      P.S. I am an individual with disabilities (Deaf). I am always open and happy to answer questions. I never take offense unless its intentional and the offender clearly knows their remarks are wrong.

  21. Remy Mars Guest

    A delicate issue but she was not discriminated against. Both carriers have the same policy that you must be able to self evacuate. What has happened to her is the Delta agent didn’t ask this question of her and she has boarded her flight and gone on her merry way. The Virgin agent did their due diligence and did ask this question of her and she was unable to do what she needed to do...

    A delicate issue but she was not discriminated against. Both carriers have the same policy that you must be able to self evacuate. What has happened to her is the Delta agent didn’t ask this question of her and she has boarded her flight and gone on her merry way. The Virgin agent did their due diligence and did ask this question of her and she was unable to do what she needed to do for her safety if required. Regarding the open ended verbiage I think the ‘May’ infers unless another passenger is willing to help you (which they would not be asking passengers on your behalf) then you will require the safety assistant. Whilst the chances of an evacuation are slim if you are disabled and deem yourself unable to evacuate you have to understand the priority for crew in an evacuation would be to be at aircraft doors getting people off and not lifting and carrying us off especially as we are not all built the same stature wise. It’s an unfortunate situation for her yes but the correct move should the worse have happened.

  22. PaulS Guest

    @George Romey. It was an Asian flight, not ANA.

  23. Sel, D. Guest

    No they clearly didn’t discriminate, and to suggest that’s even possible is ridiculous. They even offered the Mom a free transatlantic flight for crying out loud. It’s a reasonable policy clearly stated. Non-news. Don’t give her a platform.

    1. Ray Gold

      Where do you read they offered here a free flight. They suggested they would allow her on the flight if the mom flew but didn’t offer some round trip flight across the Atlantic.

  24. Eskimo Guest

    We discriminate all the time, we're born into a system that discriminates. We're just bunch of hypocrites.

    We have always discriminate against age and will continue to do so.

    1. John Guest

      Shut up you stupid old geezer!

  25. Brian G. Member

    I feel for people in this case it is inconvenient and embarrassing to ask an adult who can mostly care for themself to have to travel with somebody. It would be inappropriate for airline staff to ask other paxs. But I would be willing to assist a person who is unable to evacuate to the best of my ability so that they can fly without a caretaker. As long as my responsibility is only for...

    I feel for people in this case it is inconvenient and embarrassing to ask an adult who can mostly care for themself to have to travel with somebody. It would be inappropriate for airline staff to ask other paxs. But I would be willing to assist a person who is unable to evacuate to the best of my ability so that they can fly without a caretaker. As long as my responsibility is only for evacuations and not anything else. But I am most likely in the minority.

    What makes these situations so tricky is that that "nice" employee, who did not follow the policy that allowed her to board in the past faces no consequences. But the "mean" employee who followed policy might face consequences.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      Lucky caused confusion here. What past employee? Delta and Virgin are two separate companies. She flew on Delta a couple weeks ago and now on Virgin. Also, discretion is applicable because someone unable to go to the restroom for 2 hours is different than 8. Sad she’s handicapped, but we do unfortunately live in what is called reality.

    2. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Unicorn sighting!

  26. Sel_D New Member

    Not sure where the inconsistency is - do you have anything showing that Virgin has let her or other people in a similar situation fly in the past?

    Also, you don't think this is stressful and uncomfortable for the Virgin employees? They're not evil, just doing their job. It sounds like they even OFFERED A FREE TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT for her mother. Get real - what more did you want them to do?

    While incredibly unfortunate,...

    Not sure where the inconsistency is - do you have anything showing that Virgin has let her or other people in a similar situation fly in the past?

    Also, you don't think this is stressful and uncomfortable for the Virgin employees? They're not evil, just doing their job. It sounds like they even OFFERED A FREE TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT for her mother. Get real - what more did you want them to do?

    While incredibly unfortunate, and I'd feel bad for the flyer (except for this case due to her finger-pointing and shouting), the policy is stated. Do you think a disabled person that can't get themselves to the bathroom should be able to fly solo across the pond? While nice in theory, you can't reasonably expect that. Perhaps you're too used to flying up front that you can't imagine sitting next to someone in a diaper for 8 hours.

  27. Andrew Diamond

    Seems the airlines could have a waiver for this to release them from liability in case of adverse events. However, applicability will probably be messy considering how many places VS operates.

    1. Joshua Member

      Larger issue at play is what if another passenger is trapped behind the first passenger who cannot self evacuate? This potentially puts several people in peril, not just one.

      Yes evacuation of an aircraft is exceedingly rare, but we have regulations for a purpose none the less.

      You cannot let one person have a waver that places multiple unrelated people at higher risk.

  28. Creditcrunch Diamond

    Delta is on the hook for this IMHO, they should have followed their own conditions of carriage. The passenger enjoys the limelight and a quick search describes her as a youth activist and an advocate for disability justice, unfortunately for Virgin they have played right into her hands.

    1. EvilDrWally Guest

      Not only Delta but most airlines! Frequent flyer here with a similar motion disability. NEVER EVER been asked, neither on OneWorld, Skyteam nor Star Alliance airlines. The story sounds a little fishy IMHO, how are you able to use the bathroom if you can't move on your own (around the cabin)? A lot of inconsistent details, low credibility! I am all for the ADA and minimizing discrimination but it looks like Virgin did their duty....

      Not only Delta but most airlines! Frequent flyer here with a similar motion disability. NEVER EVER been asked, neither on OneWorld, Skyteam nor Star Alliance airlines. The story sounds a little fishy IMHO, how are you able to use the bathroom if you can't move on your own (around the cabin)? A lot of inconsistent details, low credibility! I am all for the ADA and minimizing discrimination but it looks like Virgin did their duty. Nevertheless it's just another example how different air travel is handled.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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FlightAAtendant Guest

As a flight attendant for large US based carrier, I can definitely understand and agree with Virgin/Delta’s policy. In the event of an evacuation, should the traveler with a disability be unable to evacuate, the task would be left up to us… which then hinders our duties of carrying out the evacuation procedures for the other 200 passengers. That being said, I understand the fact that there are grey areas in this policy and that it can be extremely frustrating for travelers with a disability not knowing if they will be able to travel alone. There needs to be clear and precise language going forward

5
Tim Dunn Diamond

There is no requirement that a flight attendant divert their attention from caring from the 49 able bodied passengers they are mathematically responsible for to take care of one passenger that knowingly boarded the flight unable to evacuate themselves in an emergency. The FlightAAtendant is right.

3
Murray Guest

The ADA doesn't apply to airlines - that's the Air Carrier Access Act.

3
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