Recommended Reading for Friday, 21 May: Flying While Crip Edition

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

A grainy black and white photograph of an airplane over an airport.

Leaving…on a jet plane…if the airline will let you.

Photo by Flickr user Olastuen, Creative Commons License.

BBC News: Eastern Airways grounds Welsh wheelchair athlete

A wheelchair athlete heading for a race is angry he was stopped from boarding a flight on safety grounds.

Richie Powell, from Carmarthenshire, said Eastern Airways stopped him flying from Bristol to Aberdeen last Friday.

The airline said his booking had indicated he was able to climb the aircraft steps unaided and Mr Powell was refused boarding on safety grounds.

Alison Grant at Cleveland.com: Continental Airlines faces $100,000 fine for disability-rules violation

During a compliance inspection at Continental’s Houston headquarters, enforcement officers discovered that Continental had a policy of classifying disability complaints based on what the airline called the customer’s “point of passion.”

However, many of the complaints involved more than one disability-related issue, each of which is supposed to be individually tabulated. By recording just the significant issue in each situation, Continental “substantially underreported” its disability-related complaints, the Department of Transportation reported Monday.

News.com.au: Banning mentally ill passengers from flying ‘illegal, unworkable’

Yesterday, terrorism expert Clive Williams said that people with violent tendencies resulting from a mental illness were over-represented in domestic aviation problems. He suggested putting people who were regarded as mentally unstable on a watch list.

“I know that’s going to be a bit controversial but if aviation security is the key issue, then clearly we should be careful about who we allow to fly,” he told The Australian.

Insurance Journal: Injured Passenger Can Sue Airline for Negligence in State Court

The plaintiff in the suit, Joseph Elassaad, is a single-leg amputee who relies on crutches to walk. His suit against Independence Air stems from a 2004 incident in which Elassaad fell down a flight of stairs while attempting to disembark from an aircraft that had flown him from Boston to Philadelphia.

The fall injured Elassaad’s shoulder, tearing his cartilage and requiring surgery. He sued in state court, alleging that the airline failed to provide him with a wheelchair or another means of exiting the plane.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Jetstar Airways Accused of Mis-Treating a Handicapped Passenger…again

Jude Lee is disabled, needing a wheelchair, and last August wanted to fly from Darwin to Melbourne on Jetstar. The airplane was not at a jetway and an airline employee informed him the lift was broken. Lee claims he was treated like “troublesome baggage” as a male employee carried him onto the aircraft.

Then January of this year Lee was looking to fly from Singapore to Darwin. He was checked in and waiting at the gate to board, when he was told the airline did not have an aisle wheel chair. Again, to be able to fly he had to be carried onto the plane by hand.

Previously linked, but highly relevant:

evilpuppy at Incoherent Ramblings from a Coffee Addict: “I Have Always Depended On The Kindness Of Strangers…”

I recently had the misfortune of booking a flight on your airline. Flight 844 to fly from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California from 11:51am-2pm on April 5, 2010. I say misfortune because the events of that flight have left such a poor taste in my mouth and horrible feelings in regards to the personnel working for you that I highly doubt myself or any of my friends, family, and acquaintances will every use your airlines again.

(And an update, ‘The United Saga Continues.’)

Edmonton Journal: Airline apologizes for forgetting blind teen

The 18-year-old was waiting for flight attendants to escort her to a connecting flight to Florida when she heard the plane door seal shut. Ten minutes later two maintenance staff happened to find her on an unscheduled check of the plane.

6 Comments

  1. The last time Don flew AirCanada, he was told explicitly by the gate staff that all the other passengers were being horribly inconvenienced by him and no one was being allowed to get their baggage because of his wheelchair – the one they broke. Twice.

    Both of these were, of course, utterly untrue. Airline staff and gate staff had been informed three weeks ahead of time, and reminded the week of our trip, and re-reminded again a few days before our flight back to Halifax, about Don’s accessibility needs. Their decision to break his wheelchair and then act shocked – shocked! – that he would need that wheelchair to leave the tarmac was not our fault but theirs. And none of the passengers on our flight were delayed by them breaking Don’s wheelchair twice.

  2. “Wheelchair assistance is available to and from all our aircraft, as long as passengers are able to walk up the aircraft steps and onto the aircraft without assistance.” (Eastern Airways statement)

    That’s fucking helpful, innit?

  3. re k0: Wow, really o_O That’s ridiculous.

    I’m going on a transatlantic flight in less than a week, and today I’m going to go to Walgreens to buy a cane to help with not falling over in the airports from my knees acting up and my low blood pressure. I’m flying US Airways, and their site says required mobility devices are allowed, but I look a bit young to need one…. I’ll probably claim knee injury if quizzed, and add that crutches hurt. (They do.) Bit nervous about it :/

  4. Wishing you the best of luck. I haven’t tried to fly with a cane yet but they took mine away when I was in psych hospital since it could potentially be used as a weapon. They gave me a wheelchair to use instead. My other option was a walker which would have worked fine if they’d given me a walker with a basket so I could carry the stuff they wanted me to have with at group: journal book, folder for handouts and homework, pens and/or pencils. It’s real damn hard to use a walker and carry shit simultaneous. But they didn’t have baskets. So I used the chair since I could keep my stuff with.

    And then I got shit from psychiatrists who knew only one thing of fibromyalgia syndrome and that was exercise was supposed to be good for it.

    . . .

  5. I’m considering wearing an ace bandage on my knee just to look like I have a ‘legitimate’ reason (because perfectly able people use canes for fun all the time?)

    (….couldn’t one use a pen/pencil as a weapon at least as readily as a cane?)

  6. Shiyiya, you can go through security and onto a plane with a cane. If you don’t put it through the xray but want to walk through security with it, they will likely do a full patdown, which you can do sitting down. On a plane, the cane would need to fit under the seat if you want to keep it with you (folding) or up in the overhead compartment.

    Wearing a fake bandage seems pretty much unnecessary as well as, well, fake.