A paralyzed head football coach at a California high school claims he was the victim of discrimination against his disability after United Airlines allegedly failed to provide proper accommodation to get him off two connecting flights, nearly forcing he and his new wife to miss their next flight.
As reported by Chicago ABC affiliate WLS, Independence High School (Bakersfield, Calif.) head football coach Tyler Shilhabel was traveling to the Dominican Republic with his wife for their honeymoon when United Airlines failed to secure him an aisle chair to transport him off the plane, nor did it provide any kind of a ramp or elevator to help him get off the flight. That left the coach to scoot all the way down the plane on his rear end before having to hop down step by step off the jet bridge to get to his wheelchair.
Making matters worse, his flight back from the Dominican Republic to Chicago was met with an even worse gauntlet on his way off the plane:
Following the honeymoon, on the couple’s connecting flight in Chicago, he says United Airlines also did not have an aisle chair.
This time, Schilhabel says he and his wife had seats in the back of the plane.
“So I scooted on my bottom all 31 rows to the front of the plane, got on my chair, got through customs and we were able to make our connecting flight,” he said.
According to the WLS, United offered Schilhabel and his wife a $1,000 travel voucher each for failing to provide ample transportation off the plane, but the coach has thus far refused.
“It not necessarily about the money or getting anything in return, it’s just the fact that people have been treated like this on multiple occasions not just myself, and it seems like they haven’t done anything to fix it,” Schilhabel told the WLS.