Disabled passenger slams Air India’s statement claiming cooperation, states she was forced to crawl, exit the aircraft after the assured wheelchair failed to arrive
New Delhi: In a shocking case of apathy, Anita Ghai — a disabled passenger — was denied a wheelchair while de-boarding from an Air India flight. However, the airlines has issued a statement refuting the allegations and said that the wheelchair had been provided to the passenger.
“Since the flight was parked at a distant bay, it took some time to bring the wheelchair. Since passengers were getting down from the aircraft, our support staff actively helped the passenger to come out of the aircraft ensuring any inconvenience and the wheelchair was provided at the aircraft doorstep,” an Air India statement read, adding, “We deeply regret any inconvenience caused to the passenger, However we strongly deny the statement appearing in media. We at Air India give utmost importance to passengers’ safety and comfort.”
Ghai, however, has accused AI of ‘blatantly lying’ and asserted that she is contemplating legal action. “I complained for a reason and now they are denying what happened. They are blatant liars. It was a case of complete negligence and I was traumatised. They should just acknowledge their mistake. If they don’t I will ensure they don’t do this again to disabled people, just because we are vulnerable,” Ghai said.
Narrating her side of the incident, Ghai said she was made to wait for more than 30 minutes for a wheelchair, which never came, and that she had to crawl out of the aircraft waiting for the coach to arrive with the chair.
“For around 15 minutes, I was made to wait after all the passengers had de-boarded. They (stewards) told me that the wheelchair will come, but it did not. The door of the plane is narrow so I knew the chair could not be brought inside, but they did not even have an aisle chair. I can’t stand, as I have polio. So I crawled down the steps waiting for the wheelchair,”
According to Ghai, she was finally provided with a wheelchair at the arrival hall and not at the bay. Ghai, an Associate Professor at Delhi University, had boarded the Alliance Air (Air India’s regional arm) flight from Dehradun with four of her colleagues on Friday.