Sunday, February 21, 2021

Differently-abled allegedly denied boarding with motorised wheelchair in Air India's subsidiary Alliance Air plane

In an alleged incident of discrimination, a 32-year-old differently-abled person was denied boarding the national career Air India's subsidiary Alliance Air, along with his motorized wheelchair at the last moment.

The incident took place on February 15 when he arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to travel to Diu to attend a wedding ceremony of his close friend scheduled for the next day.

Siddharth Mhatre, who works in facility management and is a resident of Dadar, says that the incident not only caused him mental and physical trauma but forced him to make an overnight journey by road.

"The negligence on part of the airlines took place even when tickets were booked a month ago and the travel agent had informed them about his physical condition, wheelchair requirement, and assistance for flight boarding in advance not once, but multiple times," alleges Mhatre.

Upon reaching the airport along with his friend with whom he was travelling, Mhatre had let his motorised wheelchair get past the security scanner first, but little did he know what would follow soon after.

"I approached the ticketing counter to get airport’s wheelchair after we failed to find Air India's 'Help Desk'. The ticketing staff managed to connect him with the airline's ground staff inside the airport and got the airport’s wheelchair. However, when we reached the check-in counter to get the boarding pass and check-in our luggage, the airline staff at the check-in counter denied him a boarding pass," says Mhatre.

The passenger also alleged that one of the staff members even asked him to show them if he could 'stand-up' on his crutches and walk.

21/02/21 Pratik Mukane/Mumbai Mirror

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