An Aussie man had to be lifted onto a Jetstar flight in Darwin after he and his wife were told both the airline and the airport didn’t have a wheelchair ramp for him to easily access the plane.
Per The Guardian, Brad Wszola was left to be manually lifted over the gap to the plane and onto the flight wheelchair by his wife Jenny and a staff member. He’s slammed the ordeal as a risk for everyone involved and has resulted in calls for the airline industry to completely change the way it treats its passengers.
“Watching these people having to lift me, to bend down, Jen had to bend down below the level of the floor of the plane, bend over and grab the bottom of the aisle chair to lift me … That put myself at risk also the staff at risk and Jenny at risk,” Mr Wszola told The Guardian.
“She was the one helping lift me into the plane.”
The boarding process was just the start of the couple’s issues on the trip from Darwin to Cairns. On the other end, Mr Wszola claimed the airline failed to bring his wheelchair up to the air bridge and instead sent it to baggage pick up with all the other luggage.
And then he had to wait around in a chair he couldn’t easily move around in until his regular wheelchair arrived on the carousel last.
Mrs Wszola said she’s sent multiple emails to both Jetstar and Darwin airport, requesting ramps are provided for accessibility.
She found herself furious at the budget airline’s response, which claimed it could only provide “limited specific assistance to passengers, including to passengers requiring wheelchair assistance”.
“Inclusion doesn’t have to be hard, it just needs to be there,” she said.
Jetstar provided a statement to The Guardian confirming an accessibility ramp will be sent to Darwin to help board passengers.
“We’ve reached out to Mr and Mrs Wszola to better understand their recent experience,” the statement read.
“Jetstar has also arranged for a ramp to be delivered to Darwin Airport for use by ground handlers to provide a better boarding experience.”
This is the second time the airline has been in hot water over its treatment of disabled passengers. Last month it issued an apology after an elderly couple were removed from their wheelchairs and left to fend for themselves in an international airport.