Disabled Man Barred From Flight Discusses Civil Rights With Airline

11/04/2010 05:15 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Johnnie Tuitel, a wheelchair-bound motivational speaker and frequent flyer for nearly 20 years, was ordered off a US Airways flight in September because of his condition, reports CNN.

The airline said in a statement that it requires passengers who can't assist themselves in the event of an emergency to fly with a travel companion.

Tuitel, who has cerebral palsy, said he won't sue US Airways, but told Prime News that he sees the issue from a civil rights standpoint:

"It's against the law to stop me from traveling for a specific reason, and if I'm already on the plane, they violated my civil rights. It's like telling Rosa Parks you can't sit on the bus. I'm not angry. I was just embarrassed because I couldn't do my job."


The way to approach disabled passengers is an ongoing issue for airlines. USA Today reported on Oct. 5 that a blind American man was barred from boarding a FlyDubai flight to the Jordanian capital of Amman without a travel partner.

Both airlines are clear in their policies, but the execution has become a delicate topic. Tuitel sees this as an opportunity to start a discussion with airlines about discrimination against disabled passengers, and US Airways has agreed to move forward in talks with Tuitel about finding a solution.

Read more about the incident at CNN.


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