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Traveler in wheelchair says she was 'humiliated' at BNA TSA checkpoint

Posted: 10:21 PM, Jul 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-25 07:52:54-04
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — She came to Nashville just for a doctor's visit, but when she left she said she was humiliated by TSA agents at Nashville International Airport.

Erica Coulston is from Detroit and she uses a wheelchair.

She says she was leaving Nashville after a doctor visit when she was at the TSA checkpoint at BNA on July 3.

It was there that Coulston says an agent explained they needed to inspect her wheelchair seat cushion before letting her through, in addition to her typical pat-down.

After several minutes of a back and forth, Coulston's husband and another caregiver had to lift her up out of her chair, in full view of other travelers. Coulston says she was never offered a private area for the screening.

The incident was caught on camera, and she said that kind of experience has never happened to her before at a TSA checkpoint.

"I was humiliated -- this was just totally dehumanizing and that feeling of hopelessness, what am I supposed to do," said Coulston.

The TSA says it always tries to accommodate people the best it can, including alerting staff ahead of time of special needs, but it said that clearing wheelchair seat cushions is part of its standard procedure.

Two years ago, police in Knoxville arrested a man after TSA agents found a handgun hidden inside his wheelchair seat cushion at a TSA Checkpoint.