HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 2, 2017) – Jarlene Cordonnier had been looking forward to a family trip from Sacramento to Orlando on December 8, 2016. There were 12 family members traveling including her adult sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. The flight that day was on United Airlines (“United”) and included a layover and plane change in Houston.
Because Ms. Cordonnier is partially paralyzed from a prior stroke and requires mobility assistance devices, extra planning was required for the trip. Working through a travel agent, the family made advance arrangements with United. The family was instructed by United that it would gate check her electric powered mobility scooter then transport her in a wheelchair down the jetway to the door of the airplane where she would then be transferred to a smaller wheelchair that would move her down the aisle of the plane to her assigned seat.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. When the family approached the United gate agent at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Ms. Cordonnier and her family were told by the agent that the scooter would not be checked at the gate but instead United would only check the scooter at the door of the plane. “The agent seemed more concerned with hurrying up and getting us to board than allowing my mother to safely board the plane,” according to her son, Remington Cordonnier.
United then had two “attendants” walk beside Ms. Cordonnier as she proceeded down the jetway on her mobility scooter. Because of the downward angle of the jetway, at one point the front wheels of the scooter suddenly and rapidly descended which caused her to be pitched forward from her scooter onto the ground fracturing her left leg above the knee.
“All of this could have been avoided if the gate agents at United had only allowed her to use a wheelchair. There were available wheelchairs right there at the gate,” said Remington.
Instead of enjoying time with her grandchildren and other family members on a Disney Cruise, Ms. Cordonnier endured a fractured leg, surgery including the placement of a metal rod and screws in her left leg, and weeks away from home and her family recovering in a hospital in Florida. She has since returned home and continues on the long road to recovery.
The Callahan Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against United Airlines, Inc. on behalf of Ms. Cordonnier in Houston, Texas alleging that its refusal to provide a wheelchair and other assistance to her and other disabled passengers is part of a larger corporate policy which places United’s interests ahead of the safety of its passengers.
For additional information, contact The Callahan Law Firm at (713) 224-9000, by email at info (at) thecallahanlawfirm.com, or access our website at www.thecallahanlawfirm.com.