- A passenger said Icelandair forgot his wheelchair on his flights both to and from New York.
- The airline has now offered him $2,740 in compensation after a series of complaints.
- Michael Strunk Kristiansen spent five days without his custom-fitted chair, he told Insider.
Icelandair gave a passenger $2,740 in compensation after it forgot to put his custom-made wheelchair on his transatlantic flights both to and from New York.
Michael Strunk Kristiansen flew from Copenhagen, Denmark to John F. Kennedy Airport for a vacation with his wife in early July, with a connection in Iceland.
Kristiansen said he dropped his wheelchair off at the Icelandair desk before boarding his flight in Copenhagen.
Upon arrival in Iceland, staff brought his wheelchair to the gate, but Kristiansen told them he didn't need it because the airport had supplied him with one for his 85-minute transfer.
It appears staff never put his wheelchair back onto the plane.
After waiting for around two hours at baggage reclaim in New York, Kristiansen found out the wheelchair hadn't made it onto the flight, he told Insider. He said that his chair arrived two days later and that Icelandair didn't supply him with a temporary chair in the meantime.
Twelve days later, Kristiansen flew back to Copenhagen. He told Insider that despite staff at JFK promising him that his chair would make it onto the flights, Icelandair forgot his wheelchair again.
He didn't get his chair until three days later, he said.
Kristiansen's return tickets for himself and his wife had totaled $6,735, his booking confirmation shows. He had bought the most expensive type of tickets — Saga Premium, Icelandair's equivalent of business class — because he thought this would provide more protection for his wheelchair.
After Insider reported on the incident, Icelandair initially offered Kristiansen $1,650 in compensation — or around half the cost of his ticket's cost. The airline agreed to increase this to $2,740 after Kristiansen pointed out that his wife's vacation had also been impacted, too, emails viewed by Insider show.
Passengers have faced a summer of travel chaos worldwide because of a combination of understaffing, soaring demand for travel, technical issues, and strikes.
Some travelers have experienced flight delays and cancellations, lost luggage, and huge lines for check-in and security, but in some cases airlines and airports have forgotten to put wheelchairs on board flights or have lost them in transit.
One passenger told Insider that he had spent two days of his vacation in Ireland without his wheelchair because Delta had forgotten to put it on the plane at JFK. The airline then broke his chair on the flight home, passenger Tim Kelly said.
Another said that Delta had sent her wheelchair on a flight to the wrong state, and badly damaged it in the process.
Have you been affected by current travel disruptions? Or do you work at an airport or for an airline that's swamped by staffing and cancellation chaos? Email this reporter at [email protected].