Man Sues For Being Called Too Disabled To Fly
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville man who said he was grounded by an airline in June has flied a lawsuit against the company. He said workers wouldn't let him fly because he's disabled.
Andy Gates suffers from a neurological disorder that has confined him to a wheelchair.
In June, he booked a flight out of the Jacksonville to Wisconsin. However, Gates said U.S. Airways denied him the right to fly.
"They said I was too disabled to fly alone. I don't have enough words to describe how angry I am," Gates told Channel 4 shortly after the incident.
Gates told Channel 4 that he's flown seven times in the past by himself, even on U.S. Airways, and never had a problem.
Gates recently filed a lawsuit stating that U.S. Airways should require that people like him be allowed on flights. He said he doesn't want what happened to him to happen to other people.
"There was no reason that I shouldn't have been able to board the plane at all. I am very mobile for a person in a wheelchair. I've been on a plane by myself and flown by myself," said Gates.
U.S. Airways originally issued a statement about the incident stating: "U.S. Airways personnel determined that he would not be able to assist in his own evacuation in the event of an emergency. We feel that our employees acted appropriately and followed both company and federal policy in this situation."
The airline said on Monday it would not comment on the lawsuit, as it is pending litigation.
Gates said he returned to the airport a couple days after not being allowed to board the U.S. Airways flight and flew to his destination on a different airline with no problems.
He said he hopes U.S. Airways would change its policies, so that no one else will have to go through what he did with the airline.
"I was humiliated. I was very frustrated. There's no words to express how I felt that day," Gates said.