Passenger Xavi Santiago is slamming American Airlines after the airline forgot to load their $22,000 electric wheelchair on the aircraft.
In a TikTok video that has gone viral, Santiago, 23, detailed their awful experience while traveling from Los Angeles, Calif. to Orlando, Florida, with a layover in Miami.
After waiting a long time to be helped onto the plane after the Miami layover, Santiago was told their wheelchair was not there when they reached the final destination.
As a temporary solution, AA gave Santiago a manual wheelchair and assured their wife that Santiago’s chair would be on board the next flight leaving from Miami. After failing to load it on the subsequent flight to Orlando, Santiago had to wait for almost five hours until AA finally brought the wheelchair, PEOPLE reported.
“The entire time, I had no idea if my chair was going to show up. If it was going to be damaged, what was going to happen? This is not a lost bag. This is my mobility. These are like my legs,” Santiago said in a statement to the Insider.
Santiago also says they were put on hold by customer service several times and told something different by multiple agents. At the Orlando airport, airline representatives would mainly speak to Santiago’s partner, which added to their frustration even more.
“I constantly have feelings of really not being seen as a person,” Santiago said of the airline’s poor communication. “I know it’s a common feeling for a lot of disabled people is they think that because you have physical disabilities, that it means that you’re any less capable or any less competent. And I sure as hell am not either of those things.”
Santiago also shared that initially, the flight was a non-stop flight, but a layover was added a week before departure.
“When I booked my flight, I booked a one-way potentially because I am very aware of airlines and how they treat disabled people. I know disabled people who have had their mobility aids broken, damaged, or lost by airlines,” Santiago said.
American Airlines responded to the incident in a statement provided to PEOPLE: “We want all of our customers to have a positive travel experience when they fly with us, including those who travel with wheelchairs and assistive devices.”
“We extend our sincerest apologies for our customer’s recent experience as they waited for their wheelchair on a recent trip with us,” they continued. “A member of our team has reached out to address their concerns and apologize.”