Cory Lee: Disabled travel blogger threatened with ‘TSA guns’ by Delta flight attendant in wheelchair row

A disabled travel blogger has claimed that Delta Airlines flight attendants threatened to forcibly remove him after he insisted he wait inside the plane until his wheelchair was brought to his gate.

Cory Lee, a blogger from Georgia who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of two, has been a wheelchair user for most of his life.

On November 13, when the incident allegedly occurred, he was traveling from Santiago, Chile to Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr Lee was waiting to disembark when he realized the wheelchair was not on the jet bridge, after which he insisted on waiting inside the plane until he could access it.

He claimed in an Instagram post that the crew “immediately became enraged” and asked him to get off.

The accessibility travel blogger stood her ground because her claim falls under the Air Carrier Access Act, which allows a passenger to remain seated until a wheelchair is brought to him.

According to the US Department of Transportation, the law requires airlines to return wheelchair users as close to the aircraft door as possible if requested.

Mr Lee said it can take almost an hour for his chair to reach the jet bridge and explained that the aisle chair used to transport wheelchair users into their own chairs is uncomfortable for him.

“Plus, it puts me at risk of developing pressure sores,” he told Fox News Digital.

He said a supervisor got involved, who he claimed also wanted to get off without the wheelchair.

“They were talking to each other, saying, ‘He just doesn’t want to get off the plane,'” Mr Lee said.

“Believe me, I definitely wanted to get off the plane.”

He added that the altercation escalated when a flight attendant asked him to get out and wait for his wheelchair or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would make him “get off the plane with all the guns and stuff.”

Mr. Lee told the press that he “didn’t want to give in to the pressure. I know the law”.

“I’ve flown hundreds of times at Atlanta airport and they always bring my wheelchair to the plane door,” Mr. Lee wrote on Instagram, where he shared a video of his interaction with flight attendants.

“I don’t know why they were so determined not to bring him today, but to threaten us with guns?! What the hell?!”

Minutes later, a “very nice and helpful” Atlanta airport employee arrived and informed him that his wheelchair was on the jet bridge.

“After being threatened at gunpoint, it was a relief to have his help and kindness,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of wild travel experiences in 40 countries over the past nine years, but this was the worst of them all,” he added.

“Delta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport need a serious wake-up call (and a lot of empathy).”

In a statement, the airline said the exchange in the video did not reflect the “high standard of care” to which Delta employees aspire every day.

“We are evaluating what happened here and will follow up with our people as appropriate. Delta has reached out to this customer directly to learn more about what they experienced and to offer a further apology.”

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