A single detached headrest rolls down an airport conveyor belt, sitting between a pink Mickey Mouse suitcase and a designer IHOP backpack. This headrest made history for Delta Air Lines this morning as the company reached a total of 25,000 damaged passenger wheelchairs.
This comes as no surprise, given the company’s track record in this area. In preparation for the milestone, the airline hired a new lawyer and deactivated the direct messaging feature on its Twitter account. With over 4,000 broken footrests, 9,000 missing pieces and 6,500 “absolute complete squishings,” the airline continues a long legacy of totally disregarding the protection of invaluable mobility equipment. Destruction of wheelchairs has been an ongoing issue for airlines ever since the Wright Brothers’ grandmother first arrived in Albuquerque and realized her wheelchair had fallen out of their flying contraption.
Over the years, spokespersons for Delta have given statements ranging from “it was an accident” to “have you tried turning it off and on again?” to “no, YOU broke that wheelchair.” When asked if they were aware of the milestone reached today, a Delta spokesperson replied with the following statement: “Today Delta reached a monumental 25,000 damaged wheelchairs. While we believe even one damaged wheelchair is too many, we will aim to be better in the future and apologize in advance for the next 25,000.”
Delta joins JetBlue and Spirit Airlines as the third airline to accomplish this feat since statistics first began being recorded last Tuesday.