Disabled Woman Says JetBlue Broke Her Wheelchair, Left it On the Tarmac

A disabled woman took to Twitter to denounce JetBlue, saying the airline's employees left her wheelchair on the airport tarmac for over an hour.

The incident occurred at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday, according to the viral Twitter thread.

"Abandoned by @JetBlue in Newark at gate 38. They've lost my wheelchair and refuse to call a supervisor," Yomi Wrong wrote in the first in a series of tweets, urging #DisabilityTwitter to share her post widely.

In a follow-up tweet, she added: "All the elevators are broken so they have no way to bring the chair up. Really? @JetBlue 54 minutes and my driver is threatening to leave..."

Ultimately, it was the her sister who located her chair, she said.

"My sister had to go find my chair after 3 @JetBlue employees [said] that it was on the way. It was SITTING on the tarmac. In the rain. You can't make this sh*t up. I want a refund on my first class upgrade."

She also shared a photo of what she said were JetBlue employees "having a b***h session about how trash their wheelchair notification system is and what a workflow buster it is to deal with ... people like me. All this kvetching while my fam goes on a hunt for my chair."

Newsweek currently has no way to verify the wheelchair notification claims.

Later, she claimed that JetBlue had broken her wheelchair. "I'm holding a piece of it in my lap on the drive into Manhattan," she wrote.

She thanked people for their support and solidarity, saying their retweets "led to action and made me feel less alone on that cold jet bridge."

In a statement to Newsweek, a JetBlue spokesperson said: "JetBlue is committed to providing exceptional service to our customers, including those with disabilities.

"While this customer's wheelchair was never lost, elevator issues led to the delay in its retrieval and for that we deeply apologize. We will continue to engage with our customer directly related to any potential damage to the device as we want to ensure we resolve this issue."

The airline had responded to the woman's thread, writing: "We're sorry it took so long to get your chair. Please DM your full name, confirmation code, and any additional details we may need to know about your experience."

The response prompted a backlash from some Twitter users, with one writing: "It's not that it took "so long" to get the chair. It's ALL the things happening while waiting for the chair, and what happened to the chair, and the treatment of a human being in the process. Do better."

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990 which sought to prohibit discrimination and ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities "to participate in the mainstream of American life," the ADA website read.

Update 4/7/22, 5:42 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a statement from JetBlue.

A JetBlue Airways airplane heads to a
A JetBlue Airways airplane heads to a runway for takeoff at Newark Liberty Airport on January 21, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images