Days after a video surfaced on social media of a passenger being dragged out of a United Airlines plane because of the flight being overbooked, another man shared an equally disturbing experience with the airliner which, he says, almost ruined his honeymoon.
In an article publish by Trey Harris on medium, he alleged that the United staff did not allow him to take his Segway miniPro mobility device on the plane and was made to abandon it at the gate. “Last month, United Airlines made me abandon my previously-approved, DOT & TSA-allowed mobility device. At the gate at Newark Liberty airport. On the way to my honeymoon cruise,” Harris wrote.
Harris, who suffers from spondylitis, a condition that makes it difficult for him to walk, said that he had taken a prior approval from the airline’s special needs desk and the Transportation Security Aadministration (TSA) before carrying it along. “The Special Needs desk rep said I could pre-board and place it in the overhead — it easily fits with the steering bar removed, and my husband can lift it. They said they’d annotated my itinerary, and told me to call them back if I had any trouble boarding,” he said.
However, Harris narrated, that the security at the gate told him that he was not allowed to take his mobility device on the plane. After he confirmed that he had the permission from the airline’s special needs desk and also the TSA, he was told that the power to make the final decision rested with the pilot. Recalling the incident, Harris wrote: “I’m then told that the captain has made the decision NOT to allow it, and has “final authority”. I ask what can I do — gate-check it? No, it’s not being allowed on the plane period, cabin or cargo. Can we book another flight while we argue our case? No — no flight will arrive in time for our ship departure.”
In the end, according to Harris, he was forced to abandon his mobility device at the gate because there was not enough time for him to ‘call a friend who could pick it up from the airport’. As of now, there has not been any official statement from the United Airlines in response to Harris’s allegations. Earlier, the airline revised its policies requiring its staff and crew to check in at least 60 minutes before a flight after the over boarding incident happened.