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

Jetstar…… Need I Say More?

25 Jan 2012After reading another disgraceful article, yet again, about Jetstar, I can't say that it surprises me, perhaps just makes me dislike the airline more and more.

Reports surfaced last week that 78 year old Sheila King, from Brisbane, lost her three year discrimination court battle against Jetstar.

In 2008, Sheila, who uses a wheelchair, attempted to fly from Adelaide, to Brisbane, with Jetstar, when she was denied access because the budget airline has a two wheelchair maximum policy. The particular flight that Sheila wanted to board already had two wheelchair users booked in for the same flight, so she was forced to pay extra, and book with another airline.

Sheila, who uses a wheelchair because of a bout of Polio that she contracted when she was a child, is all for speaking up for the rights of people with disabilities. A disability advocate herself, she just couldn't let this ‘policy' slide.

Sheila issued a complaint to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission back in 2008, and the discrimination case was forwarded on to the Federal Court.

It has now been three years since the incident, and $20,000 of Sheila's own money towards her fight, and because of a clause in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the judge ruled in favour of Jetstar.

The DDA clause, called ‘unjustifiable hardship', protects businesses from altering their policies or practices for people with disabilities, if they can prove that they will inevitably lose money by doing so.

Jetstar is a budget airline, and for this reason, their spokespeople say that in order to keep costs to the general public low, they must enforce their policy of only carrying two wheelchair users on a flight, at any one time. Jetstar's competition, Virgin Airlines also imposes the same policy, and Sheila is currently in the process of fighting them as well.

Jetstar claims that 90% of the time, there are no issues with the two wheelchair maximum policy, because there isn't much of a need for more than two wheelchair users to occupy a plane at one time. So, shouldn't this make the cause for this policy to be abolished, even more apparent?

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Glenn Innes thinks so. Glenn says that if there was a two child maximum limit imposed on parents, there would be uproar all around the nation. He wants to know why it should be different for people with disabilities. Glenn is fighting to have this policy made illegal by airlines. And Sheila is currently appealing the decision made by the Federal Court.

This really makes me sick, the fact that a company can prevent me from flying at a discounted rate, if they want to, and it's legal! That means, if I want to fly from Sydney to Melbourne with two of my disabled friends who also use wheelchairs, too bad! We'd have to take separate flights… What a joke! I really hope this despicable policy is changed, and fast! I still refuse to fly with Jetstar, and suggest that all wheelchair users boycott the airline until the policy is changed or removed.

If you'd like to read the original article from the Pro Bono News website, please click here: http – Although, it appears that the author of the story doesn't have much to do with people with disabilities, or should I say: quote ‘passenger with disability'.

76 year old Sheila King isn't giving up without a fight

Boycott Jetstar!!!

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Previous Comments

Alan Read from Nsw posted on 14 May 2013
Jetstar is crap like you need me to tell you that. I won't recount my tale of woe but fly virgin even if it costs a few extra bucks cause no joke jetstar sucks.

JoAnne Jarvis from Newcastle NSW posted on 22 Dec 2012
We have just had a similar problem with my 92 yo mother having to walk up the stairs onto a flight, nearly passing out at the top. Their consistent comment - you should have booked another day. Well maybe her 83 yo brother should have chosen to do on another day so she could have got to his funeral in a wheelchair. Never again Jetstar.

Richard from Brisbane posted on 20 Apr 2012
Apologies if my blog is directly unrelated to Sheila's jetstar experience HOWEVER as a concerned father and sadly qantas shareholder I have to unload on this sorry excuse for a budget airline after hearing my daughters pleas and tears after yet another unexplained "failure to launch" episode on a domestic/int flight from Melb to Sydney today. Due to depart at 8am it is now (promised but yet delivered) set to get away at 6.30pm. Well done Jetstar/Qantas. You grubs just keep shooting yourselves in your collective 2 left feet whilst having NO REGARD for your customers. Take your sorry arse back to Ireland Joyce and your pathetic work practices with you....assuming of course you have a plane departing on time - NOT

Nikki j lawson from Melbourne posted on 27 Jan 2012
I'm sorry, why do people not respect policies and terms and conditions? They are in place for a reason. If you read the full court transcript you will have all the facts. Perhaps this would assist the journalist in presenting a balanced and accurate report rather than an emotive one. Sorry Sheila, you are in the wrong and Jetstar did not wrong you.

PAUL COOKE from campbelltown NSW posted on 25 Jan 2012
it dosnt surprise me of this i am a big guy and have asked on numerous accasions to sit near the doors as there is ample leg room there only to be told that in an emergency i wouldnt be able to help othersi say this that many planes that have come down and exploded on impact how many truthfully would stay back and help while there is fire around????????

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