A disabled passenger who was forced to crawl off an airplane flight after claiming she was told by staff she would have to pay extra for the wheelchair service says the traumatic experience was “extremely humiliating”.
Natalie Curtis, who was landing in Bangkok from Singapore, explained how she had been offered a special wheelchair designed for planes while boarding the flight but wasn’t when getting off.
The Australian claims she was told she would have to pay for staff to help her out of the plane, leaving her forced to drag herself through the aisle.
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Fuming Natalie told news outlet Sunrise she has used a wheelchair since school and had “never felt so degraded in her life” following the incident.
She said: “I didn't really comprehend it [being charged for the wheelchair] and I was like 'no, I'm not paying to be able to get off this plane'.
“It was extremely humiliating.”
Her pal Natasha Elford, who couldn’t help carry Natalie due to an injured knee, has also spoken of her despair surrounding the incident.
“I couldn't physically lift her so I felt really hopeless and I couldn't believe this was really happening,” she explained.
Jetstar, the airline behind the flight, has since given Natalie a full refund, additional compensation and apologised over the chaos.
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“We unreservedly apologise to Ms Curtis for her recent experience while travelling with us,” said the airline.
“We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel for all our customers, including those requiring specific assistance.”
Officials promised it was not their policy to charge for using a wheelchair to disembark from one of their planes.
They are also investigating the incident as a “matter of urgency” and say the special requirement for a wheelchair was not in their system.
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