One US Air Force veteran said he suffered from excruciating pain while flying United because there was no wheelchair service ready even after his wife requested service well before their travel dates. The veteran is now hoping United Airlines works with its contractor, ABM, to make service more bearable for people with disabilities.
Doug Strand has seen a thing or two serving this country. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1977.
“34 years and retired as a colonel,” Strand said.
However, what this airman experienced at the airport literally brought him severe pain.
“I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS),” Strand said.
CRPS is an oftentimes debilitating severe and chronic pain condition. Strand said he got it after a line of duty injury in 2008. When flying United, he and his wife said they make sure to prepare and communicate early, letting the airline know his needs for a wheelchair and service. Strand said his wife weighs 100 lbs and cannot physically push him through steep ramps as Strand weighs 230 lbs.
“We always make reservations well in advance and let them know I’m disabled and need a wheelchair. So, typically, we get off a plane and there are wheelchairs waiting and somebody ready to assist. This time, it didn’t happen that way,” Strand said.
Their first experience on the trip, flying United from IAH airport in Houston to his father-in-law’s funeral in Norfolk, VA, they waited.