Wheelchair-bound businessman banned from easyJet flight because he couldn’t walk to emergency exit

 

Paralysed Dr Martin Sabry was told he could not board a flight because he was unable to walk to the exit

Paralysed Dr Martin Sabry was told he could not board a flight because he was unable to walk to the exit

A disabled businessman was told he could not board a flight because he was unable to walk to the emergency exit.

Dr Martin Sabry, 39, is paralysed from the chest down and he was told by easyJet staff at Gatwick airport that he would be able to board but their decision was overruled by the captain.

Dr Sabry, a regular air passenger, was delayed for 12 hours as a result.

He said: ‘Once on the plane the purser said “can you walk to the emergency exit?”

 ‘I explained I am paralysed from the chest down and even though I am quite active, I cannot walk.

‘I asked to see the captain and explained I had travelled with them hundreds of times before but the purser still refused to let me board or see the captain.’

 In a humiliating act, Dr Sabry was then made to read out loud a laminated card handed to him earlier in the terminal stating all passengers must be able to reach the emergency exit.

He said: ‘It was so demeaning and unbelievable the way they treated me and the purser was obnoxiously rude.’

Dr Sabry, from Cambridge, has been in a wheelchair for 17 years after a mountaineering accident left him paralysed.

The businessman, who founded his own technology company, aIDEAS, has travelled with different airlines every four to six weeks on business with no problem.

But when he went to board his easyJet flight from Gatwick to Montpellier, in France, on January 4 he was turned away.

EasyJet managers put Dr Sabry on a flight to Toulouse and paid for a taxi for the rest of his journey

 

EasyJet managers put Dr Sabry on a flight to Toulouse and paid for a taxi for the rest of his journey.

Dr Sabry was then forced to wait four hours to speak to easyJet managers who apologised and flew him to Toulouse instead, paying for a taxi to take him 150 miles to Montpellier.

EasyJet were last week fined £60,000 by a French court for barring disabled passengers from boarding flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in 2008 and 2009.

A spokesman from easyJet said: ‘We are very sorry to hear about any inconvenience or upset that was experienced by Dr Sabry on his recent flight.

‘Safety regulations state that all passengers travelling alone must be able to make their way to an emergency exit unaided – it seems there was a misunderstanding regarding this.

‘However staff offered every assistance to Dr Sabry to arrange his transport for the next available easyJet flight at no cost.’

She added that there had been some misunderstanding on behalf of the pilot. She said: ‘Once it was established that he was able to make his own way to the exit unaided, he was put onto another flight.’

EasyJet’s Carrier’s Regulations state that ‘easyJet is unable to accept those passengers with a level of disability which requires the presence of a care assistant unless a care assistant is travelling with the passenger.’

However, the Disability Discrimination Act states that since July 2007, ‘it is illegal for an airline, travel agent or tour operator to refuse to allow a disabled person to board an aircraft when they have a valid ticket and reservation.’

By RICHARD HARTLEY-PARKINSON

Source: dailymail



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