Wednesday, August 26, 2015

British Airways cites wheelchair as safety & security issue, deplanes disabled passenger

Disabled Luke Kenshole was 'kicked off' flight to US because he was in a wheelchair

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 12, 2015

A disabled man says he was kicked off a flight to the United States in full view passengers over health and safety fears - because he was in a WHEELCHAIR.

Outraged Luke Kenshole was due to fly from London Heathrow to Philadelphia with British Airways on Monday, for a two-week holiday to visit one of his best friends.

But after he had already boarded the plane, he was deemed unfit to travel and removed due to his lack of mobility with staff citing health and safety.

Luke, 32, of Paignton, Devon, said he was left severely embarrassed by his treatment and has only been offered a PARTIAL refund on his #921 ticket.

He said: "They had ample time to address the issue while I was checking in and going through security.

"But I had boarded the flight along with everyone else before I was told I would have to leave the plane."

Luke, who has cerebral palsy which affects his legs, has flown to Philadelphia with BA on his own before without a problem, most recently last summer, and said the airline's policy needed to be clear as there was no apparent difference on this occasion.

He said: "The money isn't the issue. It's the way they went about it that upset me.

"It was unacceptable. I want BA to admit they handled it wrong and make sure no-one has to go through what I did.

"They should have said from the word go I couldn't fly, but I was all set to go and they decided at the last minute I was unfit to fly. They made me look stupid in front of people."

Luke was on the plane before anyone asked him whether he was able to take himself to the toilet, and he said he needed assistance to get onto the wheelchair.

He was then told he would have to get off the plane for health and safety reasons.

His mother and her partner, who had driven Luke to the airport and were nearly home again, but had to turn around and return to pick him up.

Luke said: "They had to travel for 18 hours that day.

"This incident affected everyone's plans. My friend and I were really looking forward to seeing each other and were going to spend a week at Virginia Beach. I'm upset I'm not in America right now."

Luke said he was told he should travel with an escort, but he said he was a single man who could not afford to pay for another person's ticket.

He said: "On Monday I lost my independence and for the first time in years I felt disabled and that is a horrible feeling."

British Airways have been approached for comment but have yet to release a statement.

Source: Western Daily Press


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wheelchair user forced to crawl onto plane sues apologetic American Airlines

Woman in Wheelchair Forced to Crawl Onto Plane — Sues American Airlines

June 08, 2015, Yahoo Travel

A woman in a wheelchair who was forced to crawl onto an airplane is now suing American Airlines.

Theresa Purcell was boarding a commuter plane from San Diego to Hawaii when the gate agent told her it was too late for them to set up the wheelchair ramp.

“I was like ‘Okay, so we can’t just… the ramp is right there,’” Purcell told KHON2 News in Hawaii. “Can’t you guys just push it right here so I can get on?”

The gate agent declined to put the ramp in place, forcing Purcell, who lives with Charcot-Marie-Tooth’s disease, to get on her hands and knees.

image
Theresa Purcell says it was embarrassing to crawl onto a plane filled with other passengers. (Photo: KHON2)


“There was no other way for me to get on the plane so I crawled up to the plane,” said Purcell. “I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane.”

Related: American Airlines Sorry for Denying Wheelchair to Cancer Patient

After the incident, Purcell’s attorney reached out to American Airlines asking for compensation, but his request was denied.

In response, Purcell has filed a lawsuit asking for $75,000 in general damages, plus punitive damages.

Even though American Airlines declined to offer compensation, they did issue an apology in a written statement. “On behalf of US Airways and American Airlines, please accept our apologies for the difficulties Ms. Purcell experienced with her request for level entry boarding,” said the statement. 

“We regret that a ramp was not requested so Ms. Purcell would be able to board the aircraft without going up the stairs, assistance should have been provided shortly thereafter. Based on what you’ve shared, it appears our employees didn’t provide the attentive, courteous and professional service we expect as a company.”

Purcell is a hip-hop artist who travels frequently for performances. 

This was her first time flying American Airlines, and has vowed to make it her last.



Monday, May 18, 2015

EasyJet launches Esaag Charter for Disabled passengers


Europe welcomes easyjet’s esaag Charter for disabled passengers

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 08:40 Written by George Sensalis

The launch of easyJet’s special assistance advisory group Pan-European Charter on Meeting the Needs of Disabled Air Travellers at an event in the EU Parliament on Tuesday was welcomed by policymakers and associations alike.

The Charter is based on lessons learned from the work of the easyJet’s special assistance advisory group, which consists of external experts on access to air travel for disabled people and easyJet representatives. The document contains recommendations for airlines, airports, and policymakers on how to make travelling for PRM passengers easier and more consistent between countries and airports.

Chaired by former UK Labour MP David Blunkett, esaag advises easyjet on the needs of passengers requiring special assistance since 2012. Reduced Mobility Rights director Roberto Castiglioni is a member of esaag and chair the Airport Experience sub-group.

The group was established by easyJet to provide the airline with strategic advice and practical guidance on the evolving needs of passengers requiring special assistance, reviewing, challenging and improving easyJet’s policies and procedures.

“Knowledge of air travel rights is crucial to smoother journeys”, David Blunkett said at the start of the event. “While the legislation David Blunkett speaking at the event in the European Parliamenthas raised awareness, many passengers are not fully informed on their rights and responsibilities,” he added. “This charter should provide a useful and succinct guide to best practice. We call on all parties involved to improve information-sharing, particularly regarding who is responsible at each stage of the passenger journey.”

"Accessibility for all is an issue for which public support continues to grow. However, we know that in the field of transport, passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility continue to face significant barriers, be these physical or logistical," Labour MEP Lucy Anderson, host of the event and member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee said. "Evidence indicates that the approach taken by national enforcement bodies on PRM passenger rights when travelling by air varies widely and it is important that this issue remains high on both the Commission’s and Member States’ agendas.”

Jean Louis Colson, Head of Passenger Rights Unit at the European Commission congratulated esaag for writing the Charter on meeting the needs of disabled air travellers. He was echoed by Federico Bonaudi, Facilitation Manager at Airport Council International (ACI Europe).




South Western Railway sets out funds for Access improvements at 32 Railway Stations

SWR to spend Rs. 11.76 cr on passenger amenities: DRM
Mysuru, May 16, 2015, dhns:

Ramps for disabled, expansion of platforms planned

South Western Railway (SWR), Mysuru, will spend Rs 11.76 crore on the improvement of basic amenities for passengers at various stations of the division during the year 2015-16.

Addressing media here on Friday, Divisional Railway Manager, SWR, Mysuru division, Rajkumar Lal, said that of the total amount, Rs two crore will be set aside to provide facilties for differently abled passengers, by constructing standard ramps at 32 railway stations of the division.

The platforms in Mysuru city railway station is also expected to see improvement during the year, as it has been planned to extend platforms two and three, followed by the shelter at platforms four and five.

The division will spend Rs 1.67 crore on Arsikere railway station, which includes works to improve platform surface and to extend platform shelter, followed by Shivamogga town railway station, where there has been an increase in passenger density, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.57 crore. Apart from the two railway stations, minor works on platform shelters will be taken up at 18 stations, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.19 crore, he said.

As a measure to reduce power usage, poles with Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) lamps, will be installed in platform and circulating area of stations, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.04 crore, followed by Rs 1.62 crore on extending platforms at 30 stations, to accomodate the longest trains at the station.

Funds have also been set aside to construct retiring rooms at Subramanya ( Rs 12 lakh), raising and extending platform at Haveri (Rs 62.91 lakh), provision of additional seating arrangements at stations (Rs 52 lakh) and construction of platform toilets at 17 stations (Rs 65 lakh).

Augmentation

Noting that augmentation of composition of trains has been done in trains such as Nizamuddin Swarnajayanthi weekly express, Mysuru-Chennai Shatabdi express, Shivamogga Town-Bengaluru express, Lal said that proposals have been sent to zonal headquarters to augment other important trains.

To increase capacity in reserved segment, two sleeper coaches each in Basava express to Bagalkot, Golgumbaz express to Solapur, Hampi express to Hubli, Mayiladuthurai express, Tuticorin express and Tirupathi fast passenger have been proposed.

Apart from it, there is a proposal to add one sleeper and A/C 3-tier in Cauvery express to Chennai, one A/C 3-tier and 2 sleeper coaches in Sharavati and Chalukya express; one sleeper in Howrah weekly express, one A/C 3-tier each in Karwar express and Ajmer bi-weekly express, said Lal.

There are also proposals to increase the number of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) in the division, by installing them at various stations of the division, he said.

Source: Deccan Herald



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Transport Deptt Delhi reserves seat behind driver for Blind Passengers

Starting April 1, people with visual disabilities may find it easier to avail public transport. The transport department has directed DTC, DMRC and DIMTS that the seat behind the driver in all public transport vehicles be reserved for the blind from April 1. A crew member of the bus has to ensure that the blind person occupies the seat during time of boarding.

At present, while DTC and cluster buses have reserved seating for the differently abled, private mini buses don't have such reservations.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

BHEL extends Accessible Air-Conditioned Bus for Students with Disabilities living in JNU Campus

Dear Friends,



We all know the Jawaharlal Nehru University is a Central University in Delhi with a huge campus where despite accessible pedestrian walkways, the internal mobility gets too difficult particularly in the summer months (April to July) when the weather is extremely hot. However, this may soon be a thing of past.

According to reports, the University has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), where the company will extend financial assistance to buy a bus valued at Rs.30 lakh. This air-conditioned bus will benefit over 300 students with disabilities living on the university campus to travel within the university with great ease.

The university administration will provide disabled-friendly supporting infrastructure at bus stops commensurate with the nature of disabilities of the students. The operating cost for the bus will also be borne by the Jawaharlal Nehru University management.

Source: The Hindu

BHEL extends Accessible Air-Conditioned Bus for Students with Disabilities living in JNU Campus

Dear Friends,


We all know the Jawaharlal Nehru University is a Central University in Delhi with a huge campus where despite accessible pedestrian walkways, the internal mobility gets too difficult particularly in the summer months (April to July) when the weather is extremely hot. However, this may soon be a thing of past.


According to reports, the University has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), where the company will extend financial assistance to buy a bus valued at Rs.30 lakh. This air-conditioned bus will benefit over 300 students with disabilities living on the university campus to travel within the university with great ease.


The university administration will provide disabled-friendly supporting infrastructure at bus stops commensurate with the nature of disabilities of the students. The operating cost for the bus will also be borne by the Jawaharlal Nehru University management.


Source: The Hindu