Air Canada to cover cost of passenger’s broken wheelchair, nearly 2 months after damaging it
Air Canada will cover the cost of a new wheelchair after a disability advocate found hers damaged following a flight to an accessibility conference in September.
Maayan Ziv says the airline confirmed the news to her via email Wednesday — more than two weeks since the wheelchair was assessed for damage, and almost two months since the whole ordeal started.
“This is the bare minimum that they are doing,” said Ziv, who lives in Toronto. CBC News first told Ziv’s story last month not long after she found out her wheelchair was damaged.
While getting the airline to replace the wheelchair is a start, Ziv says her fight doesn’t end here. The AccessNow CEO says she’ll spend the coming weeks or months finding the parts and customizing her new wheelchair, and make do with a replacement that leaves her fatigued and in pain.
After going public with her story, Canada’s federal minister of disability inclusion promised to meet with the airline and the federal transportation watchdog, the Canadian Transportation Agency, to help reform air travel for people with disabilities, calling Ziv’s situation a “long-standing problem” of airlines mistreating mobility devices.
A statement from Air Canada confirms the airline will pay for a replacement wheelchair for Ziv. The airline says it committed to doing that in early October before she returned to Canada from her trip.
“We also offered her the option of repair if that was preferred,” the statement reads.
“As with any substantial claim, especially one like this involving third parties, it takes time to process such requests,” the airline.said.
Ziv says the assessment put the cost of repair at roughly $25,000 to start. She says she opted to replace the chair in case further complications arose.
The AccessNow CEO says she’s continuing her advocacy while she works on getting a new wheelchair. She says she now has lawyers representing her and has spoken to the Canadian Transportation Agency, the federal watchdog, about what happened.
“It’s one thing to fix my chair. It’s another thing to find a way to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone [else],” said Ziv.
“Right now, I have no guarantee that if I take another flight, I’m not going to face the exact same issues.”