Delta Air Lines, a carrier I fly with very often (almost 200,000 miles in 2014), recently invited a group of their top tier frequent flyers to participate in a charity event for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.
More than 20 Diamond Medallions, myself included, responded to the call to raise money for cancer research. On Friday, May 1, teams came together at the Delta TechOps Center in Atlanta, Georgia to compete in a Jet Drag. 20 members of our “Delta Diamond Draggers” team pulled a Boeing 757-200 20 feet in 11.389 seconds, winning second place in the Corporate Division. The rest of us served as alternates or cheerleaders.
In total, more than 70 teams of Delta employees competed in the drag across multiple divisions. Over $200,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society.This money will be used to search for a cure. It was an exciting event that brought me together with my fellow frequent flyers and some friends this weekend.
I was given an opportunity to tie the aircraft directly to my wheelchair and attempt a pull. I had hoped to make a cool video of my chair’s wheels spinning, but the weight of the rope and plane lifted me up off my front wheels and would have tipped me over. Next year, assuming I am invited to return, I’ll secure the rope lower on the chair in order to get a video of burning wheelchair rubber!
At the drag, I had the opportunity to speak with flight attendants, managers and executives who I hope heard my call for improved services for those who require assistance when traveling. I will detail my good and bad experiences flying with Delta in a future blog post (it’s here). In the coming weeks, I hope to have an opportunity to speak with those who directly manage Delta’s responsibility to comply with the Air Carrier Access Act. As one of the world’s most frequent wheelchair travelers, it would make sense for them to listen to the input I have to offer. As always, I recommend that you report any violation of your rights under the ACAA directly to the Department of Transportation. Complaints sent to the DOT (not the airline!) are the only way to ensure that air carriers are forced to comply with the law.