Monday, June 17, 2024

A Letter to An Airline Regarding Treatment of People Who Need to Carry Medical Items With Them


Here is a letter I had to write to a certain airline, yesterday. I am withholding the name of the airline, pending their response. Has anyone else been treated like this?

June 16, 2024, 3:49 PM

June 21, 2024 - I've not gotten any sort of response, so I will now reveal the airline that treated me so badly. It was Delta. 


June 25, 2024 - Got an email apology from Delta. Seemed sincere, they would forward the letter up the ladder. That should have been the end of the letter - but for some reason, they thought financial compensation was in order. A refund of the cost of my flight? Nope. A $75 coupon for a future flight. SMH


I am writing to inform you of the cruel and embarrassing treatment I was subjected to in trying to board a flight from Atlanta to Newark. I was booked for 2 flights from St Louis to Newark. The first leg of the flight was wonderful. The gate attendant did not call groups until the jetway was mostly clear, and volunteers were requested to check bags, if they could. I had one small bag with wheels that I have been using for many years, with other airlines. This bag has been placed under the seats of large and small airplanes, and sometimes put in the overhead when there was room. The bag is important because I carry certain medications and items related to health conditions. It is important to repeat that this bag has never been checked in, only on occasion, taken on the jetway and returned to the jetway after the flight. This was my first time using Delta Airlines, and I have to say, after the way I was treated by the second Gate Crew, I don’t see myself using Delta Airlines again.


 The flight was already delayed, so the crew was attempting to get people on the plane quickly. They asked for volunteers to check bags, as was done on my first flight. Unlike the earlier flight, groups were called too fast, creating a long, long line. As part of section 7, I was near the end of the queue. Suddenly, a gate person started to separate " no bag" people from "bag" people. I was confused, as many of the “no bag” people had 2 or more bags bigger than mine. Apparently, she was choosing people with bags with wheels to be tagged and taken away. She grabbed my bag by the double carrying handles, and tagged it with the adhesive label (which prevented easy access to opening the bag), just as I was telling her I am diabetic and need my medications and other related items. She then accused me of not listening to her announcement about taking medications out of bags. However, that was part of the volunteering your bag speech. I was not prepared in any way to remove my medications, my glucometer AND my laptop. I had only a small zipper bag over my shoulder that just held my wallet and cell phone. No huge purse, no tote bag. She had nothing for me to put everything into. She expected me to squeeze my hands into the small opening left by the tagging label, and hand carry at least 7 things plus my laptop. She told me to keep moving in the line, and that I had to deal with it on the jetway.


I thought maybe there were bags or baskets down there there to put medications in for this kind of situation. But there was nothing, and no one to help. So, I had to remove my sweatshirt,(thankfully I was wearing one, otherwise, was I supposed to remove my shirt to use as a "bag?") kneel down on the jetway, and with wind blowing in my face through the open door, try to get everything I needed out of that bag, with all the passengers in line staring at me. Another gate attendant then began yelling that I couldn’t be on the right side of the jetway, and then she stood over me, telling me I had to give up my bag immediately. I finally was able to tie my sweatshirt around my medications and equipment, get my laptop, and then walked past all the same (now seated) passengers who had witnessed me kneeling on the floor trying to tie up my belongings like Huckleberry Finn. 


Only this wasn’t a funny story. I was demeaned, embarrassed, and a line full of strangers was allowed to hear me having to explain private medical issues. My privacy was violated, my health care items were placed in jeopardy, having to be rolled up in a sweatshirt and put on the floor under the seat in front of me. Not one Delta employee offered me any help other than to stand over me to tell me to hurry up. If this is how you treat 69-year-old people with medical issues, it should be made known to others like me so we can avoid your airline.


BTW: My bag is identical to this









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