Delaware County Family Says American Airlines Employees Badly Damaged Young Daughter’s Specialized Wheelchair On Flight To Disney World

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County family is demanding action from American Airlines. They say baggage handlers badly damaged their young daughter’s specialized wheelchair.

“We went to Disney World, we took a family vacation,” mother Kira Charlton said.

It’s part of the Charltons’ family tradition around Christmas time. The family of five packs up and heads to the happiest place in the world.

Credit: CBS3

But life is not normal for the Charltons. 8-year-old Grayson Charlton has a spinal injury and is unable to walk.

And on Jan. 10, life got more difficult for little Grayson after an American Airlines employee dropped off her wheelchair.

“When we got off the airplane, I realized that it just was not pushing the way it should. It didn’t feel right,” Kira Charlton said.

That’s because it wasn’t right. The support wheel was bent and Grayson’s brakes were also broken.

After several unsuccessful attempts to receive the help they needed from American Airlines, they went to social media.

“I got on Twitter and unfortunately it seems like the social media shame is what they needed, and immediately someone responded. ‘Oh gosh, we’re so sorry that this happened,’” father Alex Charlton said.

But the family says that’s just it. The problem should not have happened.

American Airlines will repair the wheelchair, but now Grayson will not be mobile for several weeks.

“The problem is you’re not handling these properly, and you are taking away people’s independence when you damage these chairs, and it’s just not OK,” Kira Charlton said.

American Airlines sent CBS3 the following statement regarding the incident.

“We make every effort to take extra care of mobility devices transported on our aircraft, and have implemented special handling procedures to ensure customers of all abilities have a positive travel experience. In this instance, we fell short and thank the Charlton family for sharing their experience so we can improve.”

The Charltons say they will be taking extra precautions for future flights.