LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Erica Fulton was in Houston last September, on her way to visit her son when she boarded what she calls a “flight from hell.”
Fulton, who is from Largo, has a degenerative disease that requires the use of a wheelchair for mobility. She purchased a first class ticket on a United Airlines flight for extra room and to avoid issues during the boarding process. The airline provided assistance to help her get on the plane.
As an airport worker helped her to her seat, Fulton tells us, “he kept telling me, trust me, I’ve got you.”
But Fulton says that was hardly the case.
“Once he got me totally upright, I just saw this look of panic in his face and I said, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna drop me.’”
And that’s exactly what happened, according to Fulton.
“I fell over this way. And all of my weight landed on my shoulder, right on the corner of my shoulder, hit just under the window of the airplane,” she said. “The pain was excruciating. I had tears rolling down my face. I’m huddled on the floor.”
Fulton says the fall tore the muscles in her arm. A metal pin is now lodged in her arm to hold those muscles in place.
She was fairly independent before the incident, but now she requires expensive home health care.
And to top it off, her wheelchair was damaged during the fall, making it unusable.
United released the following statement regarding the incident:
“We hold all of our vendors to high standards and strive to provide great service to all of our customers. We sincerely apologize to Ms. Fulton for her experience while traveling with us and have covered the cost of the repair to the wheelchair.”
Fulton has filed a lawsuit against United and the other companies responsible for hiring the crew in charge of helping her board. She’s racked up nearly $200,000 in medical bills and says they should pay for it.
“It turned into just the flight from hell,” said Fulton.
Fulton said she tried contacting United about her medical issues, but no one returned her call.