EasyJet told a disabled 12-year-old boy that he couldn't fly on their airline due to health and safety concerns. Declan Spencer, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cannot walk or stand, uses an electric wheelchair to get around. When his mother called ahead to make sure easyJet could accommodate his chair, she was shocked with the answer.
She was told that the airline could not accommodate Declan's 200-pound chair because their weight-limit for such on-board items is 130 pounds. The heavy chair, Declan's mother was told, could only fit on airlines that carry cargo and containers. Declan's chair would be too much for flight attendants to lift and would pose a safety threat to the airline staff.
Who's ready to boycott easyJet with me?
I shall refuse to fly easyJet! Granted, I don't live in Europe and have no European vacations planned, but STILL! If I did! I would boycott easyJet.
While they refunded the cost of the plane tickets, Declan's mom summed up the absurdity of their policy concerning the weight of wheelchairs. She told the Daily Mail that their case "seems extremely hollow when you consider that every other airline is prepared to accommodate us."
EasyJet says it's not them, it's the CAA who made the rules that they have to follow. Declan's mom is looking into legal advice to see if she's got a case against either easyJet or the policy makers.
I can see it from both sides here, but I gotta side with Declan and his family. There has to be a way to get his 200-pound electronic wheelchair on board and stowed without 'endangering' any flight attendants.. Two-hundred pounds is a lot, sure, but it's not insanely heavy. And what, may I ask, is the plan for flight attendants if a 250-pound man collapses out of his seat and into the aisle? They couldn't lift him out of the way lest they injure themselves? Should no one over 150 pounds be allowed to fly?
I understand that they're preventing flight attendant injury by not allowing the wheelchair and that if a large man collapses that was unplanned, but the point remains: Passengers deserve a flight crew that is able-bodied and capable of helping us out in almost any situation. Declan's should be no different.
Whose side are you on?
Photo via acebal/Flickr