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Passenger ‘Stranded’ per 5 Hours After Airline Forgot to Load Wheelchair on Plane: ‘This Is Not a Lost Bag

American Airlines

American Airlines

American Airlines plane.
Foto: Mikaela Shiffrin

Passenger Xavi Santiago is calling out American Airlines for forgetting to load their $22,000 electric wheelchair on the plane.

In a viral Tic toc, Santiago, 23, shared their awful experience while traveling from Los Angeles, California. to Orlando, Florida, with a layover in Miami. After having to wait an extensive period of time to be helped onto the plane in Miami, Santiago was told their wheelchair was not there when they reached Orlando.

The airline gave Santiago a manual wheelchair and assured their wife that Santiago’s chair would be on the next flight leaving Miami. After failing to load it on the subsequent flight to Orlando, Santiago was forced to wait for almost five hours until the airline finally brought the wheelchair.

American Airlines fleet of airplanes with passengers

American Airlines fleet of airplanes with passengers

Getty Images

In una dichiarazione a Insider, Santiago said, “The entire time, I had no idea if my chair was going to show up. If it was going to be damaged, what was going to happen. This is not a lost bag. This is my mobility. These are like my legs.

Santiago says they were put on hold with customer service several times and was told something different by multiple people. At the Orlando airport, airline representatives would mainly speak to Santiago’s partner, adding to their frustration even more.

I constantly have feelings of really not being seen as a person,” Santiago said of the airline’s poor communication. “I know it’s a common feeling for a lot of disabled people is they think that because you have physical disabilities, that it means that you’re any less capable or any less competent. And I sure as hell am not either of those things.

Modern architecture and travelers in the Orlando International Airport.

Modern architecture and travelers in the Orlando International Airport.


Santiago also revealed they had originally booked a non-stop flight to Orlando but a layover was added a week before departure.

When I booked my flight, I booked a one-way potentially because I am very aware of airlines and how they treat disabled people. I know disabled people who have had their mobility aids broken, danneggiato, or lost by airlines,” Santiago said.

American Airlines responded to the incident in a statement provided to PEOPLE: “We want all of our customers to have a positive travel experience when they fly with us, including those who travel with wheelchairs and assistive devices.

We extend our sincerest apologies for our customer’s recent experience as they waited for their wheelchair on a recent trip with us,” hanno continuato. “A member of our team has reached out to address their concerns and apologize.