Plane Passenger Who Requires A Wheelchair Says An Airport Employee Made Her Walk Off Of The Plane & Berated Her

Incidents like this are happening more and more as airports grapple with staff shortages and a lack of accommodation for disabled travelers.

Woman forced to walk off plane without wheelchair TikTok TikTok

A woman is putting the Chicago airport on blast after she had a frightening experience with their wheelchair accessibility.

In a video, TikTok user Jess explained to viewers that she had flown into O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois, for a connecting flight. Jess, who needs wheelchair assistance, had made sure to contact the airport to let them know she would need it, though her efforts to have a seamless travel day were unsuccessful.


She was forced to walk off the plane and was berated by the airport staff for wanting wheelchair assistance.

"I traveled from New York to Minnesota to go to the Mayo Clinic, and I had a layover in Chicago," Jess began in her video. "Because I use a mobility aid and had all my medical supplies and my medical condition, I did have accommodations set up for my flights."

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By setting up the accommodations, Jess had assumed that for every flight, there would be an airport employee who would provide her with a wheelchair to push her around and make sure she was safely transported throughout the airport.


When she landed in Chicago, she was told that she would be the last person to leave the flight since she needed a wheelchair, which she was fine with. However, after all of the other passengers have exited, Jess realized she was still waiting.

"Except, this man comes onto the plane and says, 'Well, can you walk a few steps?'" Jess continued. She told the employee that she could try walking a few steps, but she didn't know that he had meant she needed to walk off of the plane and through the tunnel into the terminal.

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At that point, Jess tells him that she actually can't walk that far without a wheelchair, but the employee insisted that she try.

With no other option, she began to walk off the plane but didn't make it far, and ended up tripping, falling, and hitting her head before eventually passing out.


"The man who is supposed to be helping me, he finally goes and gets a wheelchair," Jess said. However, it doesn't stop there. The man puts her in the wheelchair and starts pushing her incredibly fast, to the point where Jess has to tell him that if he doesn't slow down, she will pass out again.

"He starts yelling at me that if I want to miss my f--king flight then I can, [and] that we need to hurry up," she explained. To herself, Jess remarked that it wouldn't have taken so long, and they wouldn't have been rushing if he had gotten her the wheelchair in the first place, and she wouldn't have passed out from trying to walk.

Eventually, the airport employee puts Jess into one of the airport terminal cars and begins speeding toward her gate with her inside the vehicle. She managed to make it to her flight on time, but not without several other employees yelling at her about her needing to hurry up so she could board.

"If you have any kind of mobility issues, need accommodations or help, I would definitely not recommend the Chicago airport, especially that man," Jess said.


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Since the pandemic, plane passengers with disabilities have been finding traveling more difficult. 

According to CNN, staff shortages at airports across the country due to the pandemic have left many passengers traveling with disabilities scrambling to find the right accommodations. "It’s definitely got worse since the pandemic,” Roberto Castiglioni, the director of Reduced Mobility Rights, told the news outlet.

“Staff shortages are not only having an impact on not enough [assistance-dedicated] agents,” he continued. “Where airports have seen shortages in security staff, there are very long lines to go through.”

Due to this, many disabled plane passengers, including Jess, are receiving the short end of the stick and are being treated with a lack of empathy. There also isn't just a lack of employees available, but also a lack of proper education on how to correctly accommodate the different people flying out of airports who need different disability assistance.


In a July 2022 report from the Department of Transportation, they recorded a 108% increase in complaints from flyers with disabilities, a drastic increase from 76% in May 2019.

"There’s been a massive loss of corporate culture and knowledge,” Castiglioni said. For travelers who need extra help, things like this will only continue to hurt them.

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Nia Tipton is a Brooklyn-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.