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Disabled passenger forced to drag himself off Air Canada flight

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Rodney Hodgins hopes that, by recounting his misadventure, he will help Air Canada ensure that no passenger is left without assistance.


A British Columbian with a disability claims he was forced to drag himself off an Air Canada flight in Las Vegas, because the company did not provide him with a wheelchair. Rodney Hodgins wants changes to be made to prevent other people from experiencing this misfortune, described as “dehumanizing”.

Rodney and Deanna Hodgins flew from Vancouver to Las Vegas at the end of August, for a highly anticipated trip celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Rodney, 49, has spastic cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair.

The couple from Prince George, British Columbia, travel every year and are accustomed to following the same procedure for Rodney to get off the plane. Usually, after passengers exit, an airline employee brings in an aisle chair, an extremely narrow version of a wheelchair.

However, after landing in Las Vegas, an Air Canada flight attendant announced to the couple that they would have no help or aisle chair, and that Rodney Hodginks is expected to make his own way to the front of the plane.

The couple initially thought it was a joke, finding the suggestion absurd. How am I supposed to get to the front of the plane when I can't walk?, said Rodney Hodgins.

Feeling he had no choice and not wanting to be rude, the latter used his arms to drag himself from row 12 to the front of the plane, while x27;he was in excruciating pain. His wife crawled into the aisle behind him to help him move his legs.

The crew crew ;Air Canada, consisting of the pilot, the co-pilot, two flight attendants and eight maintenance workers, observed the scene without intervening.

In a statement, Air Canada said the company uses the services of a third-party wheelchair assistance specialist in Las Vegas. As a result of [its] investigation into how this serious service failure occurred, [it will evaluate] other mobility assistance service partners in Las Vegas, adds the airline.

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Rodney and Deanna Hodgins traveled to Las Vegas in August to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Deanna Hodgins called the situation dehumanizing.

I saw this man grabbing onto the back of a chair, then thrashing and fighting while I was on the ground, crawling and moving his legs, and we were trying to pull him off. Take to the front of the plane. I fought against his spasms while trying to lift his legs.

A quote from Deanna Hodgins, partner of Rodney Hodgins

Once the couple arrived at the front of the plane, Rodney Hodgins was able to access his motorized wheelchair. Deanna and Rodney Hodgins said they were shocked and asked to speak to the airport manager, who was apologetic.

The couple enjoyed their vacation, but the ordeal caused Rodney Hodgins significant pain for several days.

On the flight of Returning, an Air Canada representative met with Deanna and Rodney Hodgins and suggested they follow the airline's formal complaint procedure.

The couple did not hear from Air Canada until a phone call from a customer service representative offering them a voucher ;$2000 purchase for an upcoming flight.

That's not what it's about. I want [Air Canada to change its] policy so that there is always someone on site when a person with a disability gets off the plane. I really don't want this to happen to anyone else, said Rodney Hodgins.

Open in full screen mode< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Deanna and Rodney Hodgins enjoy traveling and say they are accustomed to the months of planning and coordination with airlines. They had planned their trip to Las Vegas eight months before departure.

The Hodgins said they decided to share their story after seeing an article about accessibility executive Stephanie Cadieux in Canada.

On October 20, Stephanie Cadieux claimed on X, formerly Twitter, that she was furious because Air Canada had forgotten her wheelchair, a situation she described as frustrating and dehumanizing. Since then, Stéphanie Cadieux has contacted the couple to offer her advice.

Deanna hopes that Air Canada will issue a formal apology. I sincerely believe that Air Canada violated my husband's human rights, she concludes.

With information from Michelle Ghoussoub

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116