D’Arcee Neal: Wheelchair-dependent man forced to crawl off UA flight

Updated: October 27, 2015
D'Arcee Neal: Wheelchair-dependent man forced to crawl off UA flight

D’Arcee Neal was forced to crawl off of his flight last week when United Airlines’ staff failed to provide him with the proper assistance.

According to WRC-TV, D’Arcee Neal landed in Reagan International Airport in Arlington, Va. Tuesday night. But as the passengers got off the United Airlines plane, he was left waiting for an aisle chair and someone to come help him. No one did.

“I mean, it’s humiliating,” Neal told WRC-TV. “No one should have to do what I did.”

What he did was crawl off the plane, he said, as he had no other options and needed to use the bathroom.

According to WRC-TV United Airlines said it “regrets” the delay in assisting Neal.

D’Arcee Neal has previously been featured by WRC-TV. In June 2014 the station reported his wheelchair had been stolen from a friend’s house. Though the station did not distinguish Neal’s disability in the airline story, it reported last year he suffered from cerebral palsy, which has left him without the use of his legs.

What’s more, when Neal landed in Virginia last week, he had just come from a speaking engagement in San Francisco in which he had discussed accessible transportation.

“Half the time, I feel like airlines treat people with disabilities as a secondary concern,” Neal told WRC-TV.

D’Arcee Neal’s plight was not an outlier, according to some. “In 2014 here were over 27,500 complaints in reference to things like this, so it is not uncommon,” Dara Baldwin of the National Disability Rights Network told the station. “I hate to say that.”

A lawyer who suffers from a disability told WRC-TV that she too experienced such a delay once, and one time had to have a friend carry her off a plane.