Man With Cerebral Palsy Says He Had to Drag Himself Off Flight

Couple filed a complaint with Air Canada, and an investigation has been launched
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2023 3:00 AM CDT
Man With Cerebral Palsy Says He Had to Drag Himself Off Flight
An Air Canada Airbus A330 approaches for landing in Lisbon, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023.   (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

A Canadian couple heading to Las Vegas in August to celebrate their first wedding anniversary had a huge damper put on their plans, they say in a complaint filed with Air Canada and, subsequently, in interviews to bring awareness to what happened to them in the hopes that it doesn't happen to anyone else. Rodney Hodgins has spastic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, wife Deanna tells the BBC, but upon landing in Vegas, she says they were told there was no assistance available and he would need to exit the plane himself. "How am I supposed to get to the front of my plane when I can't walk?" Rodney Hodgins asks the CBC.

"You are watching this man grab the back of a chair and then struggle and fight while I'm on the ground, crawling on the ground moving his legs," Deanna Hodgins says, adding that his legs were suffering from muscle spasms as he dragged himself off the plane while the flight crew watched and offered no help. The couple says that after going through Air Canada's complaint process, they were offered a $2,000 voucher for a future flight, and decided to take their story public because it's not about compensation, they say. "I just really don't want this to happen to another person," Rodney Hodgins says. The Canadian Transportation Agency is now investigating the incident, and Air Canada (which eventually did offer a formal apology) says it partners with a third-party wheelchair assistance specialist in Vegas and will be "evaluating" other mobility assistance partners in the city after this lapse. (More Air Canada stories.)

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