I recently underwent major surgery on the 13th in Florida and needed to leave early. When I attempted to change my ticket to an earlier flight time, they were going to change it for me for $5 but then refused after they learned that I am a transgendered individual and told me that my surgery was ‘optional’ despite the fact that it was, actually, medically necessary. They even went so far as to take my credit card number before changing their mind and letting me know that there was nothing they can do. Fine, whatever, I didn’t want to make a big stink over it. I was upset, but I could make other arrangements if necessary (though they caused me quite a bit of stress and hardship)
If that was the extent of it, I wouldn’t be so upset.I got to the airport and specifically asked to have immediate assistance to take my things to and from the planes (Went from Ft Lauderdale to Houston to OKC) due to being unable to lift anything more than 5lbs or reach far after surgery. When I landed in Houston, there was nobody to help me off the plane. It took quite a while to get someone to help me off the plane with my bags, and they did check me in. However, I needed to get something to eat to take my antibiotics and pills and asked for assistance again. It took 30 minutes to get someone to help me with my bags again, which I understand is a time consuming thing, whatever. It was frustrating because I was at risk of missing my flight and not having the medication that I needed since I was in pain. Then, I went to the desk when they were boarding and asked for help to put my bags on the plane ‘cause I couldn’t carry them. They told me to ask someone else. I didn’t know who to ask, and they did not help me find someone. I waited trying to flag an attendant down but was ignored. Pre-boarding ended and I knew that if I didn’t get on the jetway then, I would not get a seat I could sit in easily after surgery. Because nobody would help me and I was in danger of missing the plane, I actually had to pick up my two bags myself - in the process tearing and ripping stitches which caused bleeding and pain that my RN at home had to take care of when I finally made it home.
I made it to the gate, in terrible pain, where the man was extremely rude to me when I asked him to help me take my bags there because despite my ticket being for medical assistance, nobody was there to help. He made a face and was like “What are you doing out after surgery anyway?” and grabbed my laptop bag (leaving me to still carry one of them) and started going really fast down the jetway. He got there before I did (couldn’t keep up) and I asked where he put the bag and he said “You’ll see where I put it” and just walked out again. So I had to spend time trying to find that before I could actually sit down. I was in so much pain by then that it took all my efforts not to cry. THEN when we got to OKC I was supposed to have someone waiting to help me off the plane and nobody, again, was there. I let them know the minute we landed I would need assistance. They were like - we can put you on a wheel chair out here. I told them I didn’t need a wheel chair, I just needed someone to carry my bags to baggage claim. I was then ignored for 20min while other people exited the plane and I tried to get the flight attendant’s attention. Finally I had to yell “EXCUSE ME MISS IS SOMEONE GOING TO COME HELP ME” and she STILL ignored me until someone at the front got her attention.
Mind you at this point, they were assuming I was staying on and doing a headcount to see who was going on to Denver. I finally managed, after a few attempts, to get the stewardess’ attention. She said there was a wheelchair out if I’d get my bags and they’d help me. I had to repeat, for at least the fifth time, that I could not lift my bags due to having surgery and would need an assistant to help me.She looked at my bags (A laptop bag and a backpack full of my medical supplies) and goes “…That’s all you have?” and made a face, then had someone finally come in and help me off the plane and to the nurse who I had picking me up.
At this point, I’m very near suing - I really don’t have any medical insurance, and if this causes more complications on the surgical site because I pulled my stitches, I will have to go to the hospital and I will not be able to pay for it. I was injured due to negligence on Southwest Airline’s behalf, and I’m in a lot of pain - so much that the narcotic pain killers prescribed to me are doing nothing to stop it.
…I’m not sure where to go from here, or what action to really take. I want my story shared. I want them to pay in some way. Refunding my ticket isn’t enough. When I contacted them, they said they would not get back to me for 30 days, and I feel as though that’s far too long.
The stitches before getting pulled weren’t red at all, and were healing really well. I’m adding pictures (cut so those of you who don’t want to see, don’t have to) to show where the pulling was done and also where the fresh bleeding can be seen on my chest. These are graphic photos, so please do not look if you’re squeamish.