Delta flight attendant tells wheelchair passenger that TSA will make him get off plane 'with their guns'
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When Cory Lee's Delta flight from Santiago, Chile landed in Atlanta, Georgia on November 13, he was excited to step off the plane after the long journey.
The award-winning Georgia travel blogger was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of 2 and has used a wheelchair for most of his life.
That didn't stop him from traveling around the world. When he does, he's always the last one off the plane while waiting for his chair to arrive at the jet bridge, Lee told Fox News Digital.
"It weighs about 400 pounds, so it usually lasts a while," Lee said.
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When the flight crew approached him with the aisle chair used to transfer wheelchair users to their own wheelchairs, Lee told Fox News Digital that he asked if his power chair was already at the boarding bridge.
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Lee said that when he was informed that his wheelchair was not at the boarding bridge, he told flight attendants that he preferred to remain on the plane until he could access his chair.
Lee's request falls under the Air Carrier Access Act.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's website states, "You may request that your wheelchair or walker be returned to you on the jet way at your destination airport rather than in the baggage claim area at the door of the aircraft upon request."
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Lee said it could take up to an hour for his chair to reach the boarding bridge and the aisle chair was uncomfortable for him.
"Plus, I'm at risk of developing pressure sores," he explained.
Cory Lee said that when his Delta flight from Santiago, Chile, landed in Atlanta, Georgia, his request for his wheelchair angered the flight attendants.
Lee's request to wait for his wheelchair to be taken to the plane angered flight attendants, he said.
A supervisor, who also wanted him to exit before his wheelchair arrived, also got involved, Lee said.
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"They were talking to each other and they were like, 'He just doesn't want to get off the plane,'" Lee told Fox News Digital. "Believe me, I really wanted to get off the plane."
The interaction, which was caught on video and shared on Instagram, escalated when a flight attendant told him to get off the plane and wait in his wheelchair in the aisle chair — or TSA would get Lee "off the plane with all their guns and stuff." to let. "
At that point, Lee said he "didn't want to give in to the pressure. I know the law.”
Lee believes he is the first wheelchair traveler to have traveled all seven continents.
A few minutes later, a "very nice and helpful" Atlanta airport employee showed up and said the wheelchair was waiting at the boarding bridge door, Lee said.
"He picked me up and [put me] in the aisle chair and then back in my wheelchair," Lee said, adding that it was about seven to eight minutes after the flight attendant's gun comment that Lee was in his own wheelchair and his sat away.
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Fox News Digital reached out to Delta and received an explanation.
"The sharing in this video does not reflect the high standard of care that Delta employees strive for every day," the statement said. “We are looking into what happened here and will follow up with our staff if necessary. Delta reached out to this customer directly to learn more about their experience and to offer a further apology.”
Lee said he emailed the airline and received a reply saying they were looking into the matter.
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What he really would like, however, is the opportunity to speak to Delta flight attendants, corporate and ground staff about how we treat people with disabilities, he noted.
"They need accessibility training and they need to hear from real people with disabilities like me," Lee said. "They need to understand the impact of their words."
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Cory Lee's first trip abroad at the age of 15 was to the Bahamas. "Seeing the culture and trying the new foods awakened something in me that made me want to see so much more of this big, wild, beautiful world of ours," he writes on his travel blog.
He is a graduate of the University of West Georgia and has a degree in marketing, he says on his blog.
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