Family Claims Delta Airlines Tied Passenger to Wheelchair with ‘Dirty Blanket’

Family Claims Delta Airlines Tied Passenger to Wheelchair with ‘Dirty Blanket’
Photo: Nathan Saliagas

Maria Saliagas says that Delta staff members, lacking proper equipment, tied her to her wheelchair with a blanket, injuring her in the process.

Although Saliagas was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago, she and her husband determined not to break their traditions. Every year, they travel to Europe together on Delta aircraft. As appropriate, a wheelchair with special straps is provided to allow her to sit upright for the duration of the flight. This time, however, it seems the on-flight staff drew inspiration from their rivals over at United Airlines.

This year’s trip was sabotaged by Delta employees who, rather than take the time or make the effort to safely and comfortably see to the needs of a disabled passenger, instead quite literally bound her to her chair with old airline blankets. Saliagas’s son Nathan claims that the attendants “took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it,” leaving “bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight,” until she was actually crying from the discomfort.

Of course, Delta Airlines begs to differ. They refused to reveal their side of the story but offered a typically antiseptic non-apology in response: “We are disappointed that our customers didn’t have a satisfying travel experience and will ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations,” a spokesperson said, but added, “while Delta always looks for ways to improve the overall customer experience, our findings do not align with details shared by the customer’s family,” Nevertheless, the company has offered 20,000 “SkyMiles” as compensation.

This, of course, is not the first time in recent memory that passengers have been gravely mistreated during air travel. Most infamously, a doctor was physically dragged off a United plane, sparking national fury. Later in 2017, United decided to summarily eject a paying passenger in favor of Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. This year, United allegedly forced a passenger to store their dog in the overhead compartment where it suffocated to death.

But Delta has not been immune. It has been less than two months since another Delta attendant told a woman who was allegedly groped in her sleep to just “let it roll off [her] back” — “friendly skies,” indeed.

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