News timeline



United Airlines issues an apology after a man with Cerebral Palsy was forced to CRAWL off a plane

United Airlines issues an apology after a man with Cerebral Palsy was forced to CRAWL off a plane Awful: D'Arcee Neal (above) alleges he was forced to crawl off his plane when it landed in Washington DC on Tuesday night after United provided no assistance - the airline has since apologized
  • D'Arcee Neal was forced to crawl off his plane when it landed in Washington DC on Tuesday night after United provided no assistance
  • Neal, who has Cerebral Palsy, needs an aisle chair and the help of a airline employee to exit a plane
  • Having to go to the bathroom and with no one coming to his aid he says he had no choice but to pull himself down the aisle on his hands and knees 
  • 'I mean, it's humiliating. No one should have to do what I did,' said Neal 
  • United called him and apologized for the mistake which they took full responsibility for
  • One of the flight attendants recorded the incident and the on-duty manager was suspended. The airline also offered Neal $300 in compensation 

 

United Airlines has offered an apology to a man with disabilities who alleges he was forced to crawl off an airplane after he was not provided with any assistance following a transcontinental flight.

D'Arcee Neal, who has Cerebral Palsy, said he received no help from any United Airlines employees or an aisle chair after his plane landed in Washington DC from San Francisco on October 20.

Having to go to the bathroom, Neal said he eventually got on his hands and knees and dragged himself off the plane. 'I mean, it's humiliating. No one should have to do what I did,' Neal told NBC 4.

Following the incident, Neal told CNN that a spokesperson for United Airlines called him and offered him an apology for the mistake which they took full responsibility for. 

Neal said that one of the flight attendants had recorded him and the on-duty manager was suspended. The airline has also offered Neal $300 in compensation. 

Neal, however, was left upset over the way he says disabled people are treated.

He said: 'Half the time, I feel like airlines treat people with disabilities as a secondary concern.'

United said in a statement last week that it regrets the delay in providing an aisle seat and assistance to Neal.  

The 29-year-old was returning from a speaking engagement about accessible transportation for people with disabilities at the time of the incident. 

 

He told CNN: 'I expected them to ask to assist me, but they just stared.'

A United spokesman told CNN that an aisle chair was at the gate when Neal's plane arrived but removed by mistake before it was Neal's turn to disembark. 

'As customers began to exit the aircraft, we made a mistake and told the agent with the aisle chair that it was no longer needed, and it was removed from the area,' the airline said in a statement. 

'When we realized our error -- that Mr. Neal was onboard and needed the aisle chair -- we arranged to have it brought back, but it arrived too late.'

After the incident, he said, he 'didn't contact United at all, because he didn't believe they cared.'

Neal, who has Cerebral Palsy, needs an aisle chair and the help of a airline employee to exit a plane

Neal, who has Cerebral Palsy, needs an aisle chair and the help of a airline employee to exit a plane

However, when he received the apology Neal told CNN: 'Quite frankly, I was just shocked, because this had happened a couple of times before (with various airlines), and no company had ever bothered to apologize when they've done something wrong.'

Neal said that he is pleased with the airline's response and says he never made a complaint, but after posting about what happened on Facebook, he was happy United reached out to him. 

'I just hope they learn from this,' he added. 

United said Neal's experience 'doesn't reflect the level of service we provide to customers with disabilities each day.'  


Article Tags

About the author

What's next