Disabled woman left to drag herself to airplane lavatory, staff said ‘wear diapers’

A woman paralyzed from the waist down said she was forced to drag herself down the aisle to use the restroom on board a plane where an aisle wheelchair was not available to her, in a viral video that has been shared by several shared on social media platforms.

Jennie Berry posted the video on her social media accounts, where it has been viewed a total of more than 11 million times, as she recounted how she was treated on board a Spanish airline Albastar plane.

Albastar’s website states that its staff are trained to help people with disabilities.

airplane gear
Here is a stock image of an aisle in an airplane. One woman said she left herself to drag herself down the aisle of an airplane to use the bathroom in a video that has gone viral on multiple social media platforms.
Diy13/iStock

“Passengers should notify the airline of the type of airport assistance they require at least 48 hours before departure,” the airline said.

The airline also said passengers should indicate what type of wheelchair they are traveling with, its dimensions, weight and whether it is manual or electric.

Passengers who require the use of a wheelchair can use an aisle wheelchair, a small wheelchair used to get someone on and off the aircraft and into the aircraft’s lavatory, via wheelchair travel.

In her video caption shared on Facebook and Instagram, Berry said her flight had been changed and she was put on a plane with Albastar.

“On arrival at [Newcastle International Airport in England]staff told me there is no way to sit anywhere near the front of the plane to comfortably board and disembark as a disabled person who needs to use an aisle chair,” Berry said in her caption. In her video, she said there were seats available near the front of the plane.

The flight became even more difficult as the plane took off.

She said she asked a companion to use the bathroom, to which they said, “No, we don’t have an aisle chair on board.”

Berry took matters into his own hands, trudging down the aisle to the plane’s bathroom while attendants served drinks, as seen in the video.

Her partner then helped lift her to the toilet in the small room.

“A staff member told me quite rudely that people with disabilities should just wear diapers on board,” she said in the video.

Berry went on to say an employee told her that despite the various trolleys being wheeled through the plane, there wasn’t enough room for an aisle chair.

“Every other flight I’ve been on had an aisle chair,” she said. “There are still many improvements to be made in access in the travel industry and I hope they will be implemented soon.”

Many viewers were shocked at how Berry was treated.

“Appalling, needs serious training,” wrote one Facebook viewer.

“What if there had been an emergency,” asked another Facebook viewer. “You should always have the necessary equipment for the safety of everyone on board!”

“Disgusting behavior by employees who shouldn’t be working in customer-facing roles,” a viewer wrote to Berry on Twitter.

A spokesman for Albastar wrote to news week that aisle wheelchairs are “not mandatory” or recommended or mentioned under the current regulation “when it comes to aircraft equipment/fittings”.

“On the annotated flight, the passenger list received prior to the flight did not show the presence of a ‘wheelchair C passenger’, meaning that Albastar was never informed of the presence of a disabled passenger,” the spokesman said.

She said there are no seats for disabled passengers. Rather, there are seats where they cannot sit due to regulations.

“The first row requested by the passenger is to be considered the ’emergency exit row’ as it is closest to the door,” the spokesman said.

The airline apologized on Wednesday.

“Our primary concern is the safety and comfort of all of our passengers on every flight we operate,” the apology reads. “We are working to investigate the incident to ensure this isolated incident is not repeated on any of our aircraft.”

news week reached out to Jennie Berry for comment.

An American Airlines passenger shared that they were left without their wheelchair for five hours after staff forgot to load it onto the plane.

Another American Airlines passenger filed a lawsuit after she was reportedly forced to crawl down an airplane aisle to reach the restroom because a wheelchair was not available.

A man with cerebral palsy was thrown from a plane because his wheelchair was “too heavy” to get into the plane’s hold.

https://www.newsweek.com/disabled-woman-left-drag-self-plane-toilet-staff-said-wear-diapers-viral-video-1745504 Disabled woman left to drag herself to airplane lavatory, staff said ‘wear diapers’

Rick Schindler

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