@qantas just kicked me off my flight. They wouldn’t allow my wheelchair in the overhead locker like (@EtihadAirways @SingaporeAir @JetstarAirways) have before. Why set the AFP on me? @PWDAustralia should I expect this from the company you support with their companion cards? pic.twitter.com/SIelTSVJyj— Shane M Hryhorec (@HryhorecM) September 12, 2018
A disabled Australian man’s holiday was ruined because the airline not only refused to allow his wheelchair on board but also humiliated him by calling security on him.
Shane Hryhorec booked a Qantas flight to Bali to enjoy a holiday. However, he never knew it would turn out to be so unpleasant.
When the businessman arrived at the boarding counter, he was told he could take his folding wheelchair along with him in the aircraft. When he reached the aircraft, he was told by cabin crew he couldn’t bring his wheelchair along.
The crew told him that his wheelchair had to be stored in the hold. Understandably, Hryhorec was outraged at the conflicting instructions that he was being given.
He tried to argue with the flight attendants and told them that since it was a foldable wheelchair, it could easily be placed in the cabin. However, the crew wasn’t ready to listen to anything and called on security on Hryhorec and his companion.
The two were taken back to the terminal where Australian Federal Police were waiting for them.
The man had to reschedule his flight and the entire zeal he had for his holiday was also lost.
“I just really wonder when things like this will stop happening to us. I got in the car and cried. I was so upset. Sadly, this is not uncommon for people with disabilities. When you go to Bali you have no idea what chair they’re going to give you. My wheelchair is designed to fit in the overhead and that’s why I take it traveling,” he said.
Hryhorec added he runs a company that repairs broken wheelchairs and he knows what happens when wheelchairs are placed in the hold as they always end up being broken.
Qantas said in their defense that it allows wheelchairs only in Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 flight. However, the flight Hryhorec was boarding a Boeing 737 and wheelchairs are not allowed on that aircraft.
They admitted that the information passed on to the man was a result of miscommunication but they failed to explain why the cabin crew called police.
“We apologize that due to a miscommunication, one of our customers boarded our Boeing 737 aircraft intending to store their wheelchair in the overhead compartment when they are not able to be stored in the cabin,” the airline said in a statement.
The statement further said, “On smaller aircraft, wheelchairs are carried in the hold and returned back to their owner on arrival. It is never our intention to inconvenience our customers but safety for all customers is our No. 1 priority.”
Hryhorec later took to Twitter and said he had boarded another flight and he would have to collect his wheelchair along with his bags. He also said he was anxious if he will get his wheelchair once he lands or not.
However, the situation ended well as he later wrote on Twitter that the staff had cooperated the second time.
“During the flight the Cabin Services Manager [CSM] came up to me and said 'We've arranged for your chair to be brought to the door when you land'. A great relief after all I'd been through in the past 24 hours. Crew were amazing during the flight,” he said.
Made it to Bali. @qantas Cabin Service Manager (CSM) went above & beyond offering great guest experience. They even brought my ?? to the door. Thanks crew! But I saw the CSM on arrival from yest flight. Held out my hand, he refused to shake it & said, “Anything for free press.” pic.twitter.com/QtNf33fWjM— Shane M Hryhorec (@HryhorecM) September 13, 2018
Banner / Thumbnail : Pexels, Ahmed Muntasir