Daniel Obejas

Non-accommodation is Discrimination

My airport discrimination story begins with the online booking confirmation. As I search the website for the accommodation section, I keep being told to call a phone number, which I cannot do, or alternatively use a TTY, which I do not own. There is no email, nor an online chat service, so I enter my information in the only form that exists, and assume that’s the one a human will read. Upon arriving at the airport, I’m told that I have no reservation. After a long line of questioning, we finally get to “did you request a disability accommodation?” at which point I’m redirected to the special disability check-in. I guess disability rights are still in the “separate but equal” phase. It takes about 10 times as long waiting in line for the second time, and therein lines the problem with the “but equal” promise. The first question is of course about wheelchairs. No, I specifically stated on the online form that I need someone to escort me to the gate because of navigation issues, not a wheelchair. Apparently LAX thinks that “gesture vaguely in the direction of the terminals” counts as an accommodation.

Daniel Obejas, CA