In a video that has infuriated viewers, an Australian woman showed the obstacles persons with disabilities encounter when traveling.
Natalie Curtis, an Australian citizen from Queensland, had been traveling on Jetstar, an Australian airline, from Townsville to Bangkok with a stopover in Singapore when the incident happened.
Curtis claimed that she had been provided with a regular aisle wheelchair to board in Singapore but not when she arrived in Thailand in an appearance with 7NEWS’ breakfast program “Sunrise.”
After an airline tried to charge her for a wheelchair, the crippled woman was forced to scramble off the aircraft.
Curtis asserted that the airline informed her that using a different wheelchair to exit the aircraft would be at an additional cost.
Curtis declined when the Jetstar airline employees explained the fee to her.
She had never before been asked to pay for accessibility while traveling, Curtis noted.
“Staff) were asking us to actually pay when we arrived, and I didn’t really get it, so I was like, “No, I’m not paying to be allowed to get off this plane,” “Sunrise” interviewee Curtis said.
Curtis was left with little choice but to stoop down the aisle of seats toward the aircraft’s exit.
The only choice left for me was to get on the ground and crawl, said Curtis. “They all just sat about for a bit.”
Natasha Efford, a friend of Curtis’ who had been traveling with her, had recorded the entire encounter.
Efford acknowledged to 7NEWS that she wanted to carry Curtis out of the plane but was unable to do so because of a knee ailment.
“I simply felt so bad for Natalie… Efford told the news source, “I just felt extremely helpless and I was like, ‘I just can’t believe this is really happening.'”
Curtis admitted that the language barrier might have been a contributing factor in the argument she had with the airline.
A wheelchair with an aisle would not be available until at least 40 minutes after the flight touched down in Bangkok, according to 7NEWS.
According to the report, Curtis brought her own wheelchair on the flight, but it was too large to fit in the cabin. “[Staff] did obviously try to offer to lift her up and carry her, but if they dropped her [Curtis] that would [have been] 10 times worse,” Elford recalled. However, a representative for Jetstar told 7NEWS that they had never requested payment from Curtis to use a wheelchair.
The spokesman said, “We sincerely regret Ms. Curtis’ recent experience while traveling with us.
Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication that delayed the availability of an aisle chair at the gate upon arrival, this was not the case for Ms. Curtis. We are now investigating what transpired.
Curtis refused to take another flight with Jetstar despite the company providing her with a refund and other benefits as recompense for her hardships.
She determined that she did not want anyone else to experience what she had.