Friday, December 14, 2012

Delta Flight Crew "Humiliate" To Tears Marine Double Amputee

Flying isn't fun anymore. There's not one airline that I have used (and I've flown on most) that I can say has superior service. Flight attendants just don't care, and too often I've witnessed passengers being mistreated for no good reason. But what happened to Marine Lance Cpl. Christian Brown on a recent Delta Airlines flight goes beyond the pale. The treatment of the double amputee (from injuries suffered in Afghanistan last year) by the Delta crew on his flight from Atlanta to Washington DC was unconscionable.

According to retired Army Lt. Colonel Keith Gafford who was on the same flight:

“I have been flying with Delta for a gazillion years and this crew treated Chris worse than you’d treat any thing, not even any body.”

“I did 27 years in the military. I have seen a lot of things and have seen a lot of guys die, but I have never seen a Marine cry." “What the kid said was, ‘I have given everything that I can give and this is the way I am being treated? This is how I will be treated for the rest of my life?’”

Apparently, Brown- who also happened to be sick with a very high fever- was wheeled to the back of the plane in spite of the fact that several first-class passengers generously offered their seats. Another vet, retired Army Colonel Nickey Knighton, who was also traveling that day, told the Washington Post that even though they tried to get him to First Class, the crew flat out refused.

Knighton, a former helicopter pilot with nearly 30 years of service, who turned out to be seated in the same back row as Brown, assumed that because he boarded last, he would be seated up front for comfort and ease of exit in case of emergency. Instead, she wrote in a complaint obtained by “She The People,” he was squeezed into a narrow aviation wheelchair that “bumped up against stationary aisle seats as he was wheeled through the aircraft. [He] was obviously humiliated by being paraded through the aircraft and was visibly upset. I touched Brown on his shoulders and asked if he was okay. Tears ran down his face, but he did not cry out loud.”

What Knighton did not tell Delta, perhaps because she did not know, was that Brown, 29, was also very ill with a high fever. He was returning, via Atlanta, from a hunting trip in Alabama for injured service members to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Injured on his second deployment to Afghanistan after joining the Marines in April, 2009, Brown has spent nearly a year at the complex outside Washington, D.C.

Brown, a strapping six-footer when he enlisted, was flying back to Washington with a military “escort buddy,” but his mother told me that had she been with her son, “it would have turned out a little bit differently. I just can’t imagine what it was like for him, being that sick. He had a 104-degree fever and he was shaking. He was quite obviously sick.”

Gafford said the reason the flight attendant refused to allow the switch to first-class was that the plane had "to go", adding:

“How many times have we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes? You could close the door and still make an adjustment,” he said soberly before blasting the flight-crew for being “hard as woodpecker lips.”

Normally I would say that Delta should not be held responsible for the abysmal actions of a few of its crew members, but the response by Delta spokesman Michael R. Thomas to a letter that Knighton wrote to the company reflects a similar lack of compassion.

“The story in no way reflects either Delta’s standard operating procedure or the very high regard we hold for our nation’s service members. We are sorry for the difficulties that transpired and are investigating this event to determine the appropriate next steps.”

When Thomas was pressed on what those next steps might be, he replied by email: “As previously stated, we are actively looking into the incident and have no additional details to share at this time.”

That, of course, means nothing will be done.

There was a comment on The Blaze blaming unions for decimating "respect for our culture and traditions", however Delta flight attendants are not unionized. What they did to Brown is heartbreaking, and although every disabled person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom deserve a little extra. It would have taken, what, an extra five to ten minutes to get Brown situated in a comfy first-class seat?

The lack of compassion and empathy of that particular Delta crew is horrendous. They should be fired if they can't even manage to help someone in need. That's their job.

Semper Fi Lance Corporal Brown. Thank you for your service!

Source: The Blaze

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