The bad news keeps pouring in for United Airlines. This time, the airline is accused of barring a gay man from taking his mobility device on his honeymoon.
Trey Harris describes being forced to leave behind a “previously-approved, DOT & TSA-allowed mobility device” in a Medium post he authored. Harris uses the device as a mobility aid because he has spondylitis, a “type of autoimmune spinal arthritis” that makes it hard to walk.
Harris says he had to abandon his Segway mini-pro at the gate in Newark ahead of a flight to San Diego for his honeymoon cruise.
“I’d called United’s Special Needs desk well before the flight,” he recalled. “They asked about the device’s specs and gave me what sounded like the official OK.”
Due to a mix up, his mobility device was ultimately labeled a “hoverboard” and Harris was informed it was not permitted on the plane because “they’re fire risks.”
When the plane’s captain came out and suggested he would resolve the issue, it seemed like things would finally turn around for Harris.
Ultimately, however, the captain decided he could not take the device on board. With little time to make the appropriate arrangements, Harris left the device at the gate.
“We take off, and my honeymoon starts with me sobbing for an hour, my husband consoling me.”
Harris says he ended up renting a “clunky, heavy, and dangerous” scooter for several hundred dollars in San Diego, to use on the ship.
But the newlywed says his troubles with United weren’t over after the airport mishap.
Harris claims he got several voicemails from the airline while on his honeymoon in which he was accused of having “abandoned a hazardous material at an international airport”.
Harris ultimately got his Segway back. He says he’s shared his story with no intentions of compensation.
“An apology would be nice, but I’m not expecting miracles,” Harris wrote. “I’d just like them — or another airline, if they refuse — to assure me I’ll be allowed to bring my mobility device with me the next time I fly.”