B.C. man asks Air Canada to address its accessibility issues after he experienced two painful incidents
Posted November 5, 2023 7:17 pm.
Last Updated November 5, 2023 7:29 pm.
A B.C. man who uses a wheelchair is asking Air Canada to step up when it comes to accessibility after he says he experienced two painful incidents on two separate flights.
Ryan Lachance says Air Canada staff insisted on manually lifting him into a wheelchair after a flight last May. This comes despite his advanced request for the use of an Eagle lifting device, which is a piece of safety equipment that would have been able to help him out of his seat.
“They didn’t want to get it right away because they just kept saying, ‘We got this, this is our job, we know what we are doing,'” Lachance said. “There was a gentleman holding my upper body and the other one holding my legs, and they weren’t communicating properly. I kept telling them I was sliding off the aisle chair, and it took them over an hour and a half by the time they got the Eagle lift — after I fell on the floor.”
Lachance says the drop left him with a bruised back and tailbone and caused him to be bedridden for a few days.
“If this is happening to me how many other people is this happening to?” Lachance asked.
He says he was dropped by Air Canada staff in a separate incident last November. After that happened, the airline gave him a $500 flight voucher. After it happened again in May, he didn’t accept the offered voucher.
“It was an insult and a slap to the face,” he said. “And I’m really gun-shy to use Air Canada because I’ve been dropped so many times.”
The Minister of Transportation has summoned the airline to Ottawa next week to meet with the minister of diversity, inclusion, and persons with disabilities. This comes after multiple other incidents involving Air Canada and negative passenger experiences with accessibility.
Lachance says he has to travel a lot for work, so he would like to see airline staff properly trained in how to use equipment to help passengers with disabilities.
“What the airline is doing is relying on their ramp staff and the guys that move luggage around,” he said. “I’m not human cargo. I’m a person.”
CityNews has reached out to Air Canada for comment, but has not heard back.