‘I felt vulnerable’: BC woman with disability disappointed in YVR, Flair Airlines
Posted November 12, 2023 8:00 pm.
Last Updated November 12, 2023 8:02 pm.
A Nanaimo woman is calling upon YVR and Flair Airlines to improve their treatment of people with disabilities after a disappointing experience.
Angela Taylor, 74, has a prosthetic leg and uses crutches to walk short distances. Taylor says when she landed at the Vancouver International Airport on Friday after a trip to Puerto Valarta, she was left in a wheelchair at her arrival gate with no help from airline or YVR airport staff.
Taylor says she felt abandoned, helpless and disrespected.
“I would like to see disabled people respected,” she said. “This is not a way to treat people.”
Taylor says prior to her flight on Friday she requested her airline provide her with mobility assistance from the arrival gate to customs. She says when she arrived at YVR, the airline told her a driver would be coming to pick her up. But she says after waiting almost an hour, no one showed up.
“It was getting close to midnight and I had to go. So I started walking and never saw anybody,” Taylor said. “None of the people movers were working, it was a very long long way.”
Taylor says after her experience, she would like both Flair airlines and YVR airport to have better services for people with disabilities. She adds the walk from the gate to customs and luggage pick up was very painful for her.
“That whole distance was darkened and it was an empty space,” she said. “I felt vulnerable and abandoned.”
CityNews reached out to YVR for a response to Taylor’s concerns, but the airport says it’s unable to give a complete response until Tuesday.
“It is deeply concerning to learn about the challenges faced by this traveller while navigating our airport,” it said. “We take concerns like this extremely seriously and are actively working to identify the root cause of this service gap.”
Taylor says someone at the airport told her each airline is responsible for its own wheelchair passengers.
“Flair obviously dropped the ball, but there was no safety net. There was no one for me to call,” she said.
In statement to CityNews, Flair says it will be working to rectify this situation promptly.
“We understand Ms. Taylor’s experience did not meet our usual standards, and we are very sorry for that. We are currently investigating the specifics to better understand the events that transpired,” the airline said.
A Flair spokesperson says the airline’s customer service team will be reaching out to Taylor directly.
Taylor says having to walk through the airport was uncomfortable, as she has very limited walking capacity with her crutches.
“I was run over by a car in 1966, so I’m an above knee amputee,” she said. “During the accident, my back was crushed. I did a backward roll underneath the car.”
Taylor says she would like to see YVR offer more services improve its accessibility due to the airport’s vast size.