Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blind? On Dragonair you must have a window seat. Or else.

We've all read about the outrageous incidents where people with disabilities are kept from flying for for all kinds of inadequate reasons. Usually, this ends up getting reported on because someone files a lawsuit and then the facts -- once only known to those involved -- become widely known.
The latest such incident, however, occurred in front of the wrong person -- a blogger with a camera. Now we have a first hand account of what just might be the most bizarre, inflexible forcible deplaning of a blind person I've ever heard of (thanks to Scott Rains at for bringing this to my attention BTW).
You've got to read the whole post -- and see the photos -- by Jim Fruchterman at Beneblog. But in summary Dragonair forcibly removed Rami Rabby, a blind foreign service officer working for the US State Department, because he switched seats with another passenger to be able to sit in the aisle seat. The airline's rules say disabled people sit by the window.
The reason for the rule isn't clear. Likely, it's for safety, which is the way many of the discriminatory practices used by certain airlines are justified. Gotta have an attendant. Can't have too many disabled people on a single plane etc. Add sitting by the window to the list I guess. I will ask Dragonair what this policy is supposed to mean. If I get an answer I'll share it with you. If a travel expert like Scott hasn't heard of this rule before, I'm thinking it's pretty obscure.
What's more certain is that the day a person with disabilities can count on only encountering the typical problems of air travel, not those foisted on them by ignorant rules that relate to their disability, isn't here yet.

Photo courtesy of Dragonair


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Mrs. X said...

How disturbing! I can't wait to see what kind of explanation is offered for this obvious act discrimination.

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Alexandra Popescu said...

Try ryan air is similar to dragon air but much cheaper in some countries for example Thailand


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