Woman blasts Air Canada for refusing to store her wheelchair in the cabin

Mar 26 2023, 7:13 pm

Back in September, Maayan Ziv posted an emotional video stating that Air Canada broke her wheelchair. And it wasn’t the first time that an airline damaged her wheelchair.

Months after the 2022 incident, the Toronto-based photographer, disability activist, and founder of AccessNow, found herself at odds with Air Canada staff over her wheelchair.

In a recent TikTok post, Ziv, who travels for work, claims that during flights to and from Austin, she faced “argumentative” flight attendants who refused to store her wheelchair in the cabin.

According to Ziv, the flight attendant claimed that her wheelchair is considered a “dangerous good” that can’t be stored in the plane closet.

Watch the video below:

@maayanziv_ Tired of being treated like I’m a problem. People with disabilities deserve equal #RightsOnFlights ##wheelchairtravel##disabilitytiktok##fyp ♬ original sound – Maayan Ziv

In a second video, she describes the incident in more detail.

@maayanziv_ What happened with Air Canada. I answer your questions. #RightsOnFlights #wheelchairtravel #disabilitytiktok #fyp ♬ original sound – Maayan Ziv

“The most recent flights to and from Austin I faced extremely argumentative flight attendants who basically would not have it,” said Ziv. “They fought me, they did not want to store my wheelchair in the cabin, and they weren’t informed on the laws that actually state that wheelchairs like this one actually take priority when travelling to and from the US.”

Ziv stated that it’s the law to prioritize mobility aids.

To inform passengers, Air Canada’s website even links to the Justice Laws Website, an online source for Canada’s consolidated Acts and regulations.

The site states that “a carrier must, on the request of a person with a disability who needs a mobility aid during travel, accept the mobility aid for transport as priority baggage.”

It’s also the carrier’s duty to make room for a person’s mobility aid.

“A carrier must provide the following services to a person with a disability who uses a mobility aid if it is necessary in order to make room for the storage of that mobility aid, removing any cargo and other baggage from storage.”

Instead, according to Ziv, the closet was filled with the flight attendant’s suitcase and purse.

The law also states that an air carrier may refuse to transfer a person’s mobility aid if the baggage compartment isn’t large enough to accommodate it. However, Ziv said that her wheelchair is specifically designed to fit in the closet of an aircraft cabin.

In an email to Daily Hive, Air Canada stated that those US regulations only apply to manual wheelchairs and not to aircrafts with fewer than 100 seats.

“Ms. Ziv’s chair is battery powered and we fly Toronto-Austin with a 76-seat Embraer aircraft,” they stated.

They also noted that batteries that power mobility aids are classified as “dangerous goods” and that “powered wheelchairs should be stowed in the baggage compartment, per applicable law.”

“Air Canada is committed to accessibility in air travel, but we must abide by applicable accessibility and safety requirements,” they stated.


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A post shared by Maayan Ziv (@maayanziv_)

Following her experience, Ziv is urging people with disabilities to be aware of their rights.

“As people with disabilities, we show up and every person has a different story, every person has an excuse why we can’t be accommodated,” she said in a video posted on TikTok. “Knowing your rights is half the battle.”

Daily Hive has reached out to Ziv for comment.

Irish Mae SilvestreIrish Mae Silvestre

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