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Air Canada admits it violated disability regulations in case of B.C. man

VANCOUVER — Air Canada has acknowledged it violated Canadian disability regulations and apologized to a British Columbia man who uses a wheelchair, after he was forced to drag himself off a flight in Las Vegas this summer.

Prince George resident Rodney Hodgins says he used the strength of his upper body to pull himself down the airplane aisle in August, while his wife, Deanna, held his legs, after no one from the airline’s third-party ground personnel was available to help.

The case has garnered national and international attention, with the federal minister of transport saying in the House of Commons this week that he was “horrified” with how Hodgins was treated.

Beenish Awan, a special assistance representative with Air Canada, sent a letter to Deanna Hodgins this week saying the incident was a “was a very inconvenient and humiliating experience for both of you.”

Awan says based on the information currently available, the airline has to “regrettably admit” that it was in violation of the disability regulations.

Hodgins says she and her husband continue to push for improvements to how disabled travellers are treated, including faster support for people who need help on and off a plane. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2023

The Canadian Press