A man with a prosthetic leg was reportedly discriminated against after a cabin crew member told him that he would have to move seats unless he could “run and jump to prove that his leg was able to support him.”
Tim Seward, 31, was approached by a flight attendant while he was on Asiana Airlines flight from Beijing to Seoul. He claimed he paid extra money for an exit row seat. The seat requires passengers to be physically able to open the emergency door in the event of a crash landing.
Soon after he boarded the plane, a female flight attendant checked to see if he was willing to help the crew in the event of an emergency. Seward said yes. However, after a few minutes, another flight attendant arrived and asked him to move.
Seward began recording the incident at that point.
“So the company told you to move a disabled person because in this seat, according to your policy, you do not allow a disabled person to sit in this seat, because I wear a prosthetic leg,” Seward says on the video.
The attendant replies that he cannot prove if Seward’s leg is functional. He further tells him to run and jump to prove his physical capabilities. He adds that it is better if he moves to another seat.
Shocked by the comments, Seward replies, “Oh my god. But if you're asking me to move, that proves I can move, right? I don't need a wheelchair to move to another seat, right? Your reasoning doesn't make much sense."
According to the passenger, the attendant then came back with three security guards, who escorted him to another seat.
Seward lost his leg at the age of 11 because of cancer. He is from San Francisco and was visiting China alone. He further added that although he has a prosthetic leg, he is “more capable than most people physically.”
In his 20s, he even had a career in skateboarding. He said that he had traveled on exit row seats several times but has never experienced anything like this.
“For anyone to judge me based on my prosthetic alone is absolutely insane. I'm not really that upset with the airline. I feel more disgusted in people that are not aware of this kind of discrimination and not understanding that this is pure discrimination against someone that is disabled,” he said.
Seward also claimed that he was not refunded for changing his seat. Asiana Airlines is yet to comment on the incident.