Wednesday, November 30, 2011
People with Disabilities protest against Airliner's discrimination
Nov 24, 2011
TAIPEI, TAIWAN: A group of disabled people gathered Wednesday at the Taipei office of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways (CPA) to protest the company’s move to reject a disabled passenger from a flight earlier in November.
Lin Yi-ru, who is wheelchair user, was scheduled to travel alone on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Taipei to Hong Kong on Nov. 2 and transfer to a Lufthansa flight for Munich, Germany for a seminar. However, after boarding in Taipei, Lin was asked to leave the plane because CPA thought she was not capable of taking care of herself.
It was pure discrimination, Lin stated, adding that CPA even neglected her after she had disembarked, which meant her itinerary was disrupted.
“It was very late. I kept asking CPA to arrange another flight for me, but I ended up taking a direct China Airlines (CAL) flight to Frankfurt instead,” she noted.
The group of protesters questioned why CPA ejected Lin from the flight if CAL allowed her to take the flight by herself.
In response to the protest, Ling Wei-chien, a marketing manager at CPA, said the incident had nothing to do with discrimination, pointing out that the company hired many disabled workers.
He explained that the decision to ask Lin to disembark was based on the company’s rule that if a passenger does not seem to have the ability to take care of oneself, the passenger must be accompanied by another person. Ultimately, Ling said, as Lin violated the rule, the decision was made to ensure aviation safety.
The manager said that the airline would apologize for not taking responsibility for Lin after she had disembarked, but insisted that the company’s decision was based on safety reasons.