Australian man who is paralyzed described feeling “subhuman” after having to be helped aboard a Jetstar jet by three people.
Brad Wszola was informed he couldn’t use his wheelchair to board the flight because it wouldn’t fit down the aisle of the aircraft when he attempted to travel from Darwin to Cairns after celebrating his 50th birthday in the Northern Territory.
Jenny Wszola, Mr. Wszola’s wife, told Daily Mail Australia that her husband felt “like a second class person” after the “demoralizing” event.
“Three of us lifted him inside the aircraft when he was really sat in an aisle chair. He was in danger, the staff was in danger, and I was in danger.
After sending 29 emails to Darwin Airport and Jetstar in an attempt to get an explanation, Ms. Wszola was informed that there was no ramp since the airline was a budget one.
According to the airline, “Jetstar is only able to give limited particular assistance to customers, including to passengers needing wheelchair assistance,” due to its operating needs as a low-cost carrier as well as its safety and other commitments.
According to Ms. Wszola, her husband felt “inadequate, subhuman, and not worthy” as a result of the incident, as reported by the NT News.
The pilots were there and were seeing this. Just not cool, that.
“This successful, energetic man is being treated like a second-class citizen,” he said.
Instead of having the wheelchair carried to the aircraft as is customary, the couple had to wait for it at the luggage carousel when they landed in Darwin.
Inclusion, according to a “furious” Ms. Wszola, “doesn’t have to be hard.”
Since 2016, Mr. Wszola has been unable to walk due to a steroid injection that was given to him for pain alleviation.
Since then, Jetstar has added a ramp to help people in wheelchairs go across the space between the air-bridge and the aircraft.
The treatment of wheelchair users at Australian airports has long been a source of concern, with the major issues being subpar facilities, unfriendly employees, and inconsistent communication about wheelchairs.
Emma Weatherley, a passenger on Qantas, said that she was “humiliated” by the personnel and questioned why she couldn’t climb stairs.
She said that when she attempted to return home to Brisbane in June, workers treated her in a harsh and condescending manner.
According to Ms. Weatherley, American airports are more accessible for wheelchair users.
Traveling in America is considerably simpler because to the excellent Americans with Disabilities Act. When you return to Australia, the prejudice resumes.
Jetstar expressed regret to Mrs. and Ms. Wszola and claimed to have “reached out” to the couple in order to “better understand their feelings.”
The airline issued a statement saying, “We frequently examine the support offered to passengers needing particular assistance, including those who use wheelchairs.”
To improve the boarding process, “Jetstar has also arranged for a ramp to be transported to Darwin Airport for use by ground handlers.”