Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Aussie Airlines Upset Disabled Passengers

13 Oct 2009I found this article on the www.SMH.com.au website, it says that a survey was carried out last year on 110 people with disabilities and only 14 said they had a pleasant experience whilst travelling on an aircraft. With one person even saying that an announcement was made that there was a flight delay because of a wheelchair passenger. Another said they were left on the tarmac without assistance. Also reports of broken wheelchairs at the other end of the flight.

I have flown on my own many times and not all my experiences have been pleasant either. In all cases, I've had to get into an airport wheelchair which can only be pushed by someone else (this is extremely annoying to me as I don't like being pushed by anyone). Sometimes I've had to get into it about 10-15 minutes before boarding time and I've been pushed through boarding gate to the start of the tunnel and left there for up to 15 minutes unable to move while I've had to wait and watch everyone else board their flight. When a flight lands I always have to wait about another 10 minutes until everyone has disembarked until I am allowed to get off.

When I was about 18, I went to Bangkok with my dad, the Thai Royal Family was landing so our flight was landed in a different part of the airport that wasn't connected via tunnels so we had to walk down steep steps, along the tarmac and to the airport (luckily my dad was with me and he had to carry me, which can be quite embarrassing for a teenager). Once inside the airport, no-one spoke enough English to understand that I needed my wheelchair so it took about 40 minutes of going back and forward around the airport when it was finally returned to me. My dad even tried to get one of the airports wheelchairs for me but one of the airport staff said he couldn't have it and took it away from him.

Airport's definitely need to step up their game and adopt a new attitude to flying people with disabilities around. I bet they wouldn't like being shoved into a corner where they can't move and being forced to wait while they watch everyone walk in to take their happy flight. It's not enough that we can't walk but then that is highlighted by being made to watch everyone else while we can't move an inch by ourselves in the airport wheelchairs.

To check out the full article, click here - http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/airlines-dive-in-survey-of-disabled-passenger-satisfaction-20081113-60vc.html and it will take you straight there.


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