Michael Williams, a resident of St. Louis, shares that coping with a prosthetic leg can be challenging. However, losing it during a flight is even more difficult, as he was told by American Airlines.

Prosthetic leg and knee mechanism isolated on white
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Where's My Leg?

The incident occurred in 2020 when he was traveling from Indianapolis to Charlotte, en route to his hometown of St. Louis. Williams expressed frustration over the airline's refusal to take responsibility for losing his prosthetic leg and the inconvenience it caused him as a disabled person.

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“You can’t do this to somebody that’s disabled. Just say, ‘Hey, we lost something of yours, but we’re not going to pay for it,’” Williams said.

“The special-made leg, I put it in my suitcase. I put the sticker on it that says ‘fragile,'” he explained. “I gave it to the young lady at American Airlines when I was checking in. When I get to St. Louis airport, they roll me downstairs to baggage claim. I’m sitting there waiting for my luggage to come off, and never comes off.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

Williams claimed that he adhered to American Airlines' procedures for handling baggage that was delayed or damaged, confirmed the contents that were missing, and proceeded to file a complaint. He confirmed that he was compensated with a reimbursement check for just over $600.

“When I spoke with the young lady that was handling the claim, she told me this was to cover the clothes that you lost. I was like, ‘OK, fine, great,'” he said.

Denied Payment

Despite contacting American Airlines weeks later for reimbursement for his lost prosthetic, Williams was denied payment due to lack of evidence, according to a representative. The cost of the prosthetic was $26,650, which prompted Williams to hire an attorney for negotiations. The fit of the prosthetic, however, was priceless.

“When you find the one that works, that’s the one you want to hold onto,” Williams explained.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Williams expressed his hope that American Airlines would reconsider their decision and cover the cost of his lost prosthetic leg. The experience has left him with an aversion to flying as he worries about the potential loss of his wheelchair in the future.

Not The First Time

This isn't the first instance of someone losing a prosthetic limb while flying. Just last year, a woman from Texas accused Allegiant Airlines of misplacing the bag containing her waterproof prosthetic leg during her flight to San Diego. It was later discovered at an airport in Provo, Utah, with someone else's name attached to it.

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