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

Will Jet Star Ever Learn

6 Jul 2011Last week, the Scott family; Trudi, her husband, and their two children, took a flight from Wellington to Auckland, in New Zealand, to see the production of ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’. During their short encounter with budget airline, Jet Star, the family believe they were discriminated against.

Trudi’s youngest son, two year old Theo, was born with Down Syndrome, he also suffers from rare bladder complications, which could lead to renal failure. He requires the use of a stroller to get around. As the family were only travelling by plane to see a show, they didn’t require checking in any baggage, and didn’t pay any extra to do so.

They were advised that due to space issues, Theo’s pram, which folds down to the size of a large umbrella, was not allowed on board, in the cabin with the family, and would have to be stored below with the rest of the luggage. Trudi spoke to three separate cabin crew once entering the plane, who all refused to let the stroller on board, despite explaining to them that it was required for her disabled son.

The cabin crew told Trudi that the stroller would be taken down below and would be waiting for them at their gate in Auckland, once they entered the terminal on arrival. However, whilst waiting for take-off, Trudi noticed one of the cabin crew carrying a large bag, containing a musical instrument, which was stored inside the cabin, underneath some seats, at the back of the plane.

Trudi was later notified by staff that large musical instruments are allowed on board if the owner pays for a seat for them to be strapped into, but they couldn’t clarify if that was the case in this instance. They also advised Trudi and her husband that it is against Jet Star policy to carry strollers on board, due to the amount of passengers who travel with them.

Matters were only made worse, when the family arrived in Auckland to find that Theo’s stroller had been damaged in transit.

On their return flight back home to Wellington, staff again refused to allow the little boys stroller on board, regardless of the plane only being half-full.

A spokeswoman for Jet Star has since claimed that the company will pay for the stroller to be repaired or replaced, and they have compensated the family with four $50 vouchers. But Trudi said: “Their staff need to go on customer service training, because they're arrogant and very, very rude” and has vowed never to fly Jet Star again.

If you live in Australia or New Zealand, I’m sure you’ve been made aware of the endless complaints against Jet Star, in regards to disabled passengers. Do you think this lady is being overly sensitive in this case? Or do you think her complaint is justified?

To view related articles to this story, click on these links: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5238862/Jetstar-bans-disabled-childs-stroller-from-cabin - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/travel/news/jetstar-bans-disabled-child-theo-scotts-stroller-from-cabin/story-e6frg8ro-1226088721926

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