By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large
United Airlines is apologizing after a disabled man crawled off one of their planes in an attempt to use the bathroom. D’Arcee Neal flew into Washington last week from San Francisco, which was a five-hour flight. Neal has cerebral palsy, and his disability makes it difficult to use the small facilities on the aircraft. A wheelchair that was supposed to be ready for him at the gate was delayed over a mix-up. Neal had already waited for the rest of the passengers to disembark, which took about 15 minutes, and he then waited another 15 minutes for the wheelchair before he decided he could wait no longer.
Despite being told to continue to wait for the wheelchair, Neal made the decision to get off of the plane any way he could so that he could use a terminal restroom. Neal crawled up the aisle, while flight attendants watched, to the gangway. Finally, he was met there by a wheelchair. To make matters even worse, Neal was on the flight because he was returning home from a meeting with Uber, where he was talking with them about accessibility policies for the disabled. United has apologized to Neal, and offered him $300 for his trouble, which he accepted. According to reports, United also suspended the manager on duty.