Delta Tied a Woman with MS to a Wheelchair After Her Flight, Son Claims

An airline employee allegedly told her to "shut the fuck up" when she started crying.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Lia Kantrowitz
illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
Photo via Nathan Saliagas/Twitter

Lately it seems like America's airlines have had a difficult time accommodating even their passengers' most basic needs. Even if customers go out of their way to make sure that, say, their emotional support animal is cleared for takeoff, or their dog can fly in a TSA-approved pet carrier without suffocating, things can still end in disaster.

Nathan Saliagas says he found himself facing a similarly frustrating situation after working with Delta to ensure that his mother, Maria, who has multiple sclerosis, would be in good hands on a recent flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. He says he asked the airline to provide her with a specialized wheelchair equipped with straps that help her sit upright. Instead, according to Saliagas, a Delta agent tied her to a wheelchair with a "dirty" blanket once she touched down in Amsterdam—leaving her in pain, tears, and "physically and emotionally abuse[d]," Atlanta's WSB-TV reports.


When she started crying, the employee allegedly told her to "shut the fuck up," and said she'd be "left there" if she didn't stop, according to a post on Saliagas's Facebook. He added that she has bruises on her arms from where the agent allegedly tied her down.

For its part, Delta apologized for what happened, and told Saliagas that it was "looking into" the incident.

"We regret the perception our service has left on these customers," Delta wrote in a statement to WSB-TV. "We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations."

According to Saliagas, Delta offered his family 20,000 SkyMiles to make up for what happened—but for him, it's not enough. Instead, he's demanding that Delta does a better job of taking care of disabled customers going forward.

"There was no courtesy, no respect. There was complete operations failure," Saliagas told WSB-TV. "I want them to show initiative that they’re willing to change their disability services."

As if the threat of some onboard explosion or engine failure isn't terrifying enough, it's beginning to seem like airline employees are doing the absolute bare minimum to take care of their paying passengers. It's almost not even surprising anymore to see a flight devolve into a violent mess.

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