Disabled woman sues airline after having to crawl to her seat

Hip-hop artist told 'it's too late for wheelchair ramp'

Disabled Woman Sues Airline After Having To Crawl On A Plane

A handicapped passenger is suing American Airlines after having to crawl on to a plane.

Theresa Purcell said she was left humiliated as she she was forced to get out of her wheelchair and crawl to her seat in front of dozens of passengers before a commuter flight from San Diego.

She claims she wasn't allowed to board on a wheelchair because the agent at the gate told her it was too late to set up a ramp to the plane's door.

Purcell, a hip hop artist, told KHON2 News that she flies frequently and makes requests for ramps in advance of arrival at the airports.

She had done the same for a flight out of San Diego but at the time of boarding, she was told there wasn't enough time to put a ramp for her even though she saw one next to the plane.

Purcell said: "I crawled up on to the steps. I crawled into the plane. There was no other way for me to get on the plane so I crawled up.

"I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane."

American Airlines admitted that the company violated the Air Carrier Access Act and apologised in a statement: "On behalf of US Airways and American Airlines, please accept our apologies for the difficulties Ms Purcell experienced with her request for level entry boarding."

However, the airline has refused to issue any compensation for the incident. Purcell filed the lawsuit for $75k (£50k).

She added: "You wouldn't want to watch your family member crawl on to a plane. I mean, come on, this is America. I'm just saying there's always a way."