United Airlines has seen its fair share of drama recently. There have been passengers dragged from their seats, there have been rabbits dying mysteriously, and there have been scorpions falling on passengers. Now, the airline has found itself in more hot water for allegedly destroying a passenger's $42,000 custom wheelchair.

24-year-old Valentin Duthion is a native of France who has a severe spinal condition that requires him to use a wheelchair. On July 2, he boarded a Newark, New Jersey-bound United flight with a group of friends, leaving his 550lb, approximately $42,000 wheelchair in the hands of airline employees, Duthion's sister Lucie told French publication Le Progrés.


Lucie posted a video of Valentin's broken chair to Twitter on July 4.

"This is how @united airline accompanies people with disabilities," Lucie captioned the video in French. "Armchair destroyed (37,000 €), trip to the USA wasted. Shameful. #RT"

Lucie went on to tell Le Progrés that she, her brother, and a group of friends had been planning their 27-day trip to the U.S. for seven months.


United Airlines officials told People that they've been in touch with the group. They said they've arranged for the chair to be repaired and have upgraded their return flight.

"We have been in contact with our customer, and have provided him with a loaner wheelchair to use during his vacation," airline officials said.

But the group revealed in a Facebook update that the loaner chair provided by United isn't working so well.

💥 Petit point sur le début de notre voyage. Nous avons constaté en arrivant à New York que le fauteuil était complè...

Posted by Dream Trotter on Monday, July 3, 2017

"Val will not have his chair back until the end of the stay," the group wrote in French in a Facebook update. "We have a loan chair, but Val doesn’t fit in that. He can’t drive it."

Lucie added that the group felt they had to take the chair provided by United. "If we refused, we had to sign a waiver stating that we refused the help of United Airlines," she told Le Progrés.

Despite the setback, the group is determined to make the most out of their trip. They've shared photos of themselves in front of the Empire State Building and watching fireworks on the 4th of July.


We're glad they're still enjoying their trip. Perhaps one day United Airlines will be in the news for a good reason. For the sake of their PR people, we sure hope so.