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Congressman stopped from boarding plane due to battery-powered wheelchair

Jim Langevin
Posted at 1:22 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 16:22:51-04

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin said he wasn't allowed to board a plane because the airline had concerns about his wheelchair.

Langevin, who is a quadriplegic, uses a wheelchair that is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

The representative from Rhode Island told TV station WJAR that Lufthansa Airline employees informed him that the batteries were not allowed on the plane.

He was due to fly from Boston to Italy, where he was going to visit military bases.

Langevin said his wheelchair is approved by the FAA for flying. He said he even showed the airline documentation, but he still wasn't able to board the plane with the wheelchair.

Langevin said he got onto a later flight after changing chairs.

He said he's working to make sure something similar doesn't happen to anyone else.

"In fairness, not everybody is going to be able to have someone, you know, go to their house and get the chair and have staff to bring it up so that the trip can continue," Langevin said.

In a statement to TV station WJAR, Lufthansa apologized for the error, adding that staff will be reviewing the guidelines to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.