Delta Air Lines reportedly tied a disabled woman with multiple sclerosis to a wheelchair — with what the family calls a "dirty blanket" — after an international flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam.
The airline, however, has a different version of events.
What is the family saying?
According to the family of Maria Saliagas, Delta was reportedly supposed to provide a wheelchair with straps when she landed in Amsterdam after an international flight earlier this month.
"They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying," Maria's son, Nathan, told WSB-TV. "That's when that picture was taken."
Nathan reportedly had made arrangements with the airline to secure the proper wheelchair for his mother for when she landed in Amsterdam.
When she arrived, she discovered that the airline did not secure the correct wheelchair.
The special straps required to assist Maria in sitting upright were not present, so according to the family, a Delta employee improvised and used the blankets.
Nathan now says that he's looking for Delta Air Lines to "show initiative that they're willing to change their disability services" despite their reported offer of 20,000 free SkyMiles.
"I definitely know that they’re a good airline, I’m not doubting that at all, but in this specific situation, there was no courtesy, no respect," Nathan told WSB. "There was complete operations failure."
On Tuesday, Nathan shared a Facebook update accusing the airline of "physically and emotionally" abusing his mother during her travels.
He wrote, "Delta Airlines on April 1st, from Atlanta to Amsterdam, decided to physically and emotionally abuse my mother, a woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis."
"The Delta employee thought it would be appropriate to tie my mother with someone else's dirty blanket, in such a way it has left bruise marks on her arms," Nathan added. "When she started crying, she was told to 'shut the f*** up' or she will be 'left there.' This highly inhumane and disgusting treatment by Delta Air Lines is unacceptable and a need for change. Full story will be out on WSBTV and CNN soon."
What has Delta said?
In a statement responding to the Saliagas family's claims, Delta said that their investigation into the incident does not "align with details shared by the customer's family."
According to the airline, a wheelchair was present to meet Maria at the gate when she landed, and wheelchair options were offered to her once she disembarked.
Maria chose one, but later told the assistant that she was slipping in the chair.
The airline reported that Maria agreed to using blankets — which the airline says were taken from a sealed wrapper — to make her more comfortable and more secure.
On Wednesday, the airline told the New York Post, "We are disappointed that our customers didn’t have a satisfying travel experience and will ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.
"While Delta always looks for ways to improve the overall customer experience, our findings do not align with details shared by the customer’s family," the statement added.
Delta told WSB, "We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations."