Woman with disability crawls out of flight after crew denies wheelchair without charge
Australian airline Jetstar Airways faced a lot of criticism after a woman with disability decided to crawl off the plane after the in-flight crew rejected her request for a wheelchair. Natalie Curtis, who was travelling from Townsville in Queensland to Bangkok, told Channel 7 that she was asked to pay for the wheelchair service while departing the flight and she ended up crawling out of the plane.
“When we arrived (staff) were asking us to actually pay and I didn’t really comprehend it, and I’m like ‘no I’m not paying to be able to get off this plane’,” she told the news outlet. “They all just sat around for a while and the option that was left was for me to get on the floor and crawl.”
Natasha Elford, who was travelling with Curtis, took videos of the entire incident and it showed the woman slowly crawling out of the plane after a heated conversation with the in-fight crew.
“I just felt really sorry for Natalie ... I just felt really hopeless and I’m like, ‘I just can’t believe this is really happening’,” Elford said. “(Staff) did obviously try to offer to lift her up and carry her, but if they dropped her (Curtis) that would (have been) 10 times worse.”
Jetstar denied the allegations and said that the wheelchair was not available at this point of time and Curtis was not ready to wait for some time as the airline tried to organise for one. While Curtis was carrying her own wheelchair, it was kept along with other luggage on the other side of the plane.
“Regrettably, this was not the case for Ms Curtis following a miscommunication that resulted in the delay of an aisle chair being made available at the gate on arrival and we are looking into what happened as a matter of urgency,” the company spokesperson said according to Channel 7.