Disabled Passenger Bumped From Flight Home Over Her Equipment

Traveling when you are disabled and have additional equipment is already difficult.  Airplane aisles are narrow, restrooms inadequate, and additional luggage means additional fees.  But for one woman, misunderstandings with Delta airlines nearly left her stranded away from home.

Via the Star Tribune:

Salberg’s problems began shortly before takeoff on her return flight. As one of her nurses lugged a 25-pound battery on board, she was stopped and told that the pilot needed to inspect it.

[Carrie] Salberg, who was already in her seat, said she couldn’t tell the flight crew she already had airline approval because she didn’t have the device she needs to speak. Crew members were shown the compliance letter and told Salberg had flown previously, but those reassurances were brushed off.

“It’s intimidating because they have the authority to bump you off the flight and you don’t have the expertise to argue with them,” Salberg said.

Instead of a direct flight — which Salberg had paid extra for — her group was put on a flight to Atlanta, delaying their arrival in Minneapolis by about five hours. The delay meant Salberg couldn’t drink anything because she isn’t able to use a public restroom.

“It’s more than just an inconvenience,” Salberg said. “It can be a matter of health when they make decisions like that.”

Joan Headley, executive director of the International Ventilator Users Network, said one of the biggest problems passengers with ventilators face is a lack of consistency in how airline crews interpret the rules. In Salberg’s case, a company representative said the mistake happened because the flight crew was using manuals that were long out of date.

The government actually has addressed the problem for disabled patrons – a set of stickers that can be put on their equipment in order to show that it is approved for airline travel.  The problem?  The government never approved anyone to make the stickers, so two years later disabled customers still have to deal with misunderstandings, hassles, and in Salberg’s case, denial of the services she paid for.

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ElegantGypsy Rose

well james s....i think they think that it is ms salberg's fault, because until her differently abled self got on their plane they were just ducky....werent they?


yep. her fault. she should have stayed home where differently abled folk belong, right?

ElegantGypsy Rose

plain and simple, the airline owes ms salberg compensation- full compensation for the flight she paid for but did not receive.
the governments lack of ability to find a sticker maker (maybe the local kinko"s, if they cant figure it out) is not her problem.
nor is it her problem that the airlines doesnt have its poop in a scoop.
she did everything she was required to do....and thats about all there is to that. failure to plan on the part of the government/airlines should not be made a burden/emergency on the part of ms salberg who did.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Ahlam Zaid
Ahlam Zaid7 years ago

thanx for sharing this story with us

Phillip I.
Phillip I7 years ago



Phillip I.
Phillip I7 years ago

Delta is evil. I have been refusing to fly them for a couple of years now because of their callous indifference to the pain they cause when they lose and kill people's companion animals.

Beth K.
Beth K7 years ago

The passenger deserves a refund. Airlines need to get their act together.

Meghann B.
Meghann B7 years ago

They should have issued a formal apology and a complete REFUND. They OWE her that. Her and every other disabled passenger that's been mistreated but we just never heard about...

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B7 years ago

thanks for telling the world

Manuela B.
Manuela B7 years ago

well to most people out there who are disabled or care for a disabled person, this is no surprise, we deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis. and not only from public commodoties but from friends and family as well.....