A 94-year-old grandmother with disability was forced to endure a painful 16-hour flight from Los Angeles, California to Melbourne, Australia after a flight attendant from American carrier United Airlines refused to attend to her needs in business class.
Paz Orquiza is a Filipina grandma who lives in Melbourne; she recently went on a trip to Los Angeles for a family reunion.
According to her granddaughter, Marianne Santos Aguilar, Paz Orquiza or ‘Nanay Paz’ to her family and friends, spends most of her day in bed due to severe arthritis and degenerative bone structure in her neck. So, when she agreed to take the trip to Los Angeles for a reunion, her grandchildren pitched in to buy her business class tickets to ensure a comfortable trip.
The flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles did not have any problems and was great, with the flight crew ensuring a safe and comfortable flight for Nanay Paz, however the flight back home on February 2 was something else.
Marianne narrated in a Facebook post:
My aunt [Nanay Paz’s daughter Rose Benedicto] traveling with her in Economy asked the Business Class flight attendant, Shauna, if she can assist my grandma with simple tasks such as opening her food or reclining her seat, similar to what my aunt helped with on her outbound flight.
Without any sympathy or compassion, Shauna said my grandma’s only options were to 1) move to Economy with my aunt or 2) take another flight and purchase another Business Class ticket for my aunt.
The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities, neither of which was complied with here.
Rose Benedicto also commented on Marianne’s post, revealing that Shauna told her, “People pay to be in business class” and refused to allow her to assist her mother – even if Rose was allowed to do that during the flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles.