Discrimination of disabled passengers by JetBlue

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Twice last year I had a wheelchair to the gate at Orlando airport. When it was time for boarding I was denied pre-boarding because I was no longer in the wheelchair (I can walk down the jetway). "You look fine" the agent said (I have CHF and am expecting to be placed on the heart transplant list in a few months). He was right that I didn't look disabled but had no right or qualifications to determine my condition.

I complained twice on each return last year and they said they would train their personnel and offered me a $50. credit each time last year. Tried to use the credits this year and they found no record under the numbers they gave me.

Unfortunately, the same problem happened when I tried to return from Orlando twice this year despite a "supervisor?" assuring me this would not happen again (after my first trip this year). Guess I had to learn the hard way and will have to file a complaint with the ADA to stop this discrimination. If you've had the same or similar problem let me know. 4 poorly handled situations are 4 too many. Their personnel need to be taught the federally regulated disability rights. The absolute arrogance personified that JetBlue gate agents in their godlike way feel qualified to medically evaluate someone's health by looking at them is preposterous. In these hard times for the airlines you would think they would treat people in a respectful way - they are not the only airline on their routes (and frequently they are not the cheapest).
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Posted 8 years ago

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My mother is 96 and uses a walker. She arrrived at SFO for a return flight to JFK with my sister. The flight was delayed, but JetBlue changed the gate to an entirely different part of the terminal in another security corridor, then also bumped up the departure time. No one from Jet Blue was at the original gate either to provide directions or to escort my mother and sister through secure areas to get to the new gate on time. Whose fault it this? Yet Jet Blue has a Passenger Bill of Rights which says if they cause your delay you will be compensated. The problem is jet Blue decides is Jet Blue is at fault and, so far, they have yet to admit any wrongdoing here even though it would be obvious to any impartial observer.
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Dear Mannacio,
JetBlue doesn't give a damn. Point blank. Despite this post, several others and three phone calls no one has contacted me. Check the internet for both the California and and the Federal ADA discrimination claim forms. You only have to document the case and they will follow it up. They evaluate the incident and require lots of documentation from the company which not only drives them nuts but costs them a lot of money because prudently, they have their lawyers handle it. It costs you nothing and usually the company will settle before the Federal mediators make a determination and it could then hit the media. Good luck. If two persons on this site have had such situations can u imagine how many others have? Remember --- most disabled in wheelchairs are elderly and don't have advocates or the computer knowledge to communicate with the companies now that the companies have no problem having their local (?) non-english speaking customer disservice reps hang up the phone on them.
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Chantal Decombe

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I have cancer, currently in remission and have been operated twice, the last of which was in mid June. Here is my story, sent to JetBlue and my response, same as yours- $50 credit. I do not want o fly with them at this time and want my ticket reimbursed nd noy "credited" towards future flights. I am serious considering filing legal action. The attendant was outrageous and played with me, so as to assert his control:

Sent on August 16, 2012:

Dear Mr. Bushman-Todd

I am afraid you do not have all the facts. Although I really do not want to relive early evening yesterday, I think it important for you to have all the facts at your disposal.

I am sorry, but there was absolutely no "intimidation or disorderly conduct" on my behalf. At no time did I raise my voice, but did start crying softly due to the insulting and humiliating behavior of your flight attendant. As a 120 lb woman, there was no reasonable cause to think I could disrupt anything - particularly under the circumstances. At no point did I raise my voice or act in any disruptive manner (which I heard Eric mention to the gate agent, without possibility of response at any time, despite trying and asking that she ask the passengers. I have suffered emotional trauma as a result of the actions of a flight attendant of Jet Blue Airways.

When initially requesting my reserved seat, paid for and designated seat, after 30 minutes, and after explaining my health condition and need to sit down, to Eric, the flight attendant, he had nothing to say other than looking me straight in the eyes, and saying “that if I could not stand up for at least 40 minutes, he had reason to question my health as fit to travel”. I was floored. A flight attendant was evaluating my health? I felt humiliated and discriminated against. I should not need to share with a flight attendant, or anyone for that matter, my condition. I confirmed I was fine to fly, having just been in Paris a week earlier for exams. Eric left me standing until everyone had been seated and even then, for another10 minutes later. When Eric saw that was not working, he told me to sit in a non-extra leg-room seat. Given the fact that the woman in question voluntarily gave up her assigned seat (confirmed by a passenger), there was no reason for me not to have the seat reserved and paid for ahead of time. I di not give up my seat, but it appears Eric did. You state that "on rare occasions changes can made as operational need". There was no such need demonstrated in this case, and quite the contrary, IF there was a need, the need was mine. Please explain your statement as to the “operational need” in question

I have traveled over the greater part of 30 years for both business and pleasure and have NEVER had an incident with a flight attendant, or anyone for that matter, until yesterday. At no point was I permitted to explain the situation to the gate agent, who stated the decision had been made because the attendant "did not feel comfortable" with me on "his" flight. I would like to understand why. I have learned today that the decision was supposedly confirmed by the pilot. I want to confirm that at no point did Eric speak with the pilot when I was on the plane. He did come to the gate for documents while I was still there and I asked both him AND the gate agent to speak to the passengers to confirm I did absolutely nothing to merit this kind of behavior. The gate agent refused, and the pilot said, and I quote: "I AM MULTI-TASKNG, AND PROMTLY TURNED ON HIS HEELS, heading back toward the aircraft.

A total failure of communication occurred as a result of a pilot rushing to his aircraft, a flight attendant anxious to prove his power and a gate agent obviously too tired to care. And I am the responsible party? I beg to differ. The callous and inappropriate action resulted in my inability to respect a 10 00 AM appointment with a specialist colon cancer oncologist in the Sarasota area, which was booked far in advance as a result of an unilaterally arbitrary act and decision by a young, and I can only assume, inexperienced flight attendant, with no method of oversight. A his decision cautioned by a gate attendant and a pilot who was never even consulted, but obviously did sign off at some later point, and my inability to have any review of the flight attendant's decision.

I am afraid that at this point in time, I have booked a first class seat directly to Miami with American Airlines on Saturday, from JFK and then on to St. Martin. I have also booked my return with the same airline. At this point, I do not want a credit for my flight with Jetblue, but wish to be reimbursed my flight through my travel agent, who booked it for me, a refund of the town-car to the airport ($50 US) from my apt in Manhattan, the compensation for my taxi fare back ($40 US), and $800 US for my loss of time and emotional distress, which I assure is nothing in light of my 9 hours wasted at the airport trying to be heard and attempts to secure travel with other airlines as a result of the failure of JetBlue. I do not want a credit with JetBlue at this point. I do not trust the airline with my safety or to assist me in any manner, shape or form. I wish to choose my carrier at will until I am completely healed and without risk of relapse.

I am seriously considering calling a news station to explain my experience at the hands of JetBlue weeks after the termination of cancer treatment and while still in recovery. The actions are far beyond reasonable and breach of the duty of the airline in my regard.

I am flabbergasted-truly. I am also looking forward to hearing how you plan on dealing with this mess. I am more than prepared to testify at any hearing or other.

I look forward to hearing from you.
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Ed Walsh

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I am floored about this incident. I know Chantal personally since 2009. She is educated, empathic and a truly nice human being.
She is also terrifically good looking with TOTAL modesty and humility. I have spent a lot of idle and quality interpersonal time with her and have complete confidence that she is neither reactive nor loud in any matter and under any circumstance.
I am a court accepted and sworn in expert witness and author in the mental health field and would be happy to provide any clarification upon request.
Bon chance, Madame, toujors...