Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Vietjet flight denies boarding to sports body chief in wheelchair

Mumbai: Wheelchair-bound Arvind Prabhoo, chairperson of the All India Pickleball Association, was unable to accompany the 16 players representing India at the 2022 World Pickleball Championship between September 20 and 24 in Bali as he was not allowed to board a Vietjet flight from Mumbai on Saturday night.

Prabhoo — a quadriplegic after a car accident 35 years ago left him paralyzed from the neck down — alleges that this was the first time he was denied a boarding pass on grounds of the airline “not having a policy for wheelchair-bound passengers” and no aisle chair.

“Despite telling them that I was ready to pay for an aisle chair from another airline or my four personal attendants could lift me to the seat, the airline turned down both my requests saying they were unprepared to handle me in case of an emergency,” he said.

Prabhoo, who is also president of Mumbai Suburban Table Tennis Association, said, “I had registered myself as a disabled passenger and requested wheelchair assistance while booking my flight. Why do they have the option when they don’t have the facilities and why was I not informed at the time of booking,” asked Prabhoo, who wrote to the ministry of civil aviation on Monday describing his plight.

To add to his ordeal, Prabhoo, the son of former mayor Ramesh Prabhoo, was asked to write to the airline when he sought a refund and was also refused a refund for his attendants. “They said since my attendants were allowed to board, they would not be granted a refund...Why would my attendants travel when I wasn’t being allowed to?”

20/09/22 Times of India

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