Model and activist Bri Scaleese explains that Delta Airlines broke her wheelchair.

@briscaleese/TikTok

‘My freedom and independence was taken away’: Model says Delta broke her wheelchair, leaving it irreparable

The airline will pay for a replacement.

 

Tricia Crimmins

IRL

Published Jul 7, 2021   Updated Jul 8, 2021, 5:03 pm CDT

In a viral TikTok, model and disability advocate Bri Scaleese says that Delta Airlines broke her wheelchair and that it’s now irreparable.

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“When I spoke to the representative from the wheelchair repair company,” Scalesse says, “They said, ‘You know this will take a really long time to replace.'”

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@briscalesse

@delta today I’m losing my independence only 6 weeks after my best friend lost hers. How. How. How.

♬ original sound – briscalesse

“So, today my freedom and independence was taken away,” Scalesse continues. “I don’t know how I’m gonna live my life.”

In a follow-up video on her Instagram story, Scalesse shares that she will receive a wheelchair that is a replica of the one she had been using and that Delta Airlines will be covering the cost of the replacement.

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“This should never happen to us. This should never happen to anyone,” Scaleese says in her Instagram story.

In May, Scaleese posted another video about Delta Airlines breaking her friend Geeg DeFiebre’s wheelchair.

Scaleese said that DeFiebre told Delta, “This is my life. This is the only way I can live my life.”

Many wheelchair users have custom wheelchairs to accommodate their needs, specific disability, and “personal preferences.” But because airline protocols don’t allow wheelchair users to sit in their wheelchairs on planes, wheelchairs are transported by the airlines themselves, which hasn’t proven effective.

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According to the Washington Post, airlines have broken or misplaced over 15,000 wheelchairs since 2018, which comes out to about 29 lost or damaged wheelchairs per day.

In her Instagram story, Scaleese calls the frequent damaging of wheelchairs by airlines a “systemic issue.”

In a statement to the Daily Dot regarding DeFiebre’s broken wheelchair in May, Delta said that it had fallen short. “We must be better,” the statement said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Scaleese for this article.

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Update 4:01pm CT, July 8: In a statement to the Daily Dot, Delta Airlines said the company is working to “improve the travel experience for our customers with disabilities.”

“We consider a wheelchair as an extension of a person and understand that any mishandling of this mobility device directly impacts their daily living,” the statement said. “We are affirmatively working with the customer to understand what occurred.”


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*First Published: Jul 7, 2021, 2:27 pm CDT