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Airline in disability row after wheelchair passenger refused boarding

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One of Thailand’s low-cost airlines is facing accusations of discrimination after a wheelchair passenger was refused boarding. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is looking into a complaint filed after the incident last month.

The complaint was filed by Kritsana Lalai from Network for Transport Mobility for All, to Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister the Social Development and Human Security Minister.

Varawut has instructed his office to handle the complaint, which is being reviewed by an internal committee aimed at ending unfair treatment of people with disabilities.

It’s understood the incident took place on February 29, when Thai Vietjet refused to allow Mr Kritsana, a wheelchair user, to board. However, the carrier has robustly defended its stance, saying the passenger was denied boarding as he had nobody acting as his “escort”.

According to the airline, staff had strictly followed procedures during the incident. The carrier says a wheelchair passenger or other person needing assistance needs to notify the airline at least 48 hours before departure.

Such passengers are required to be accompanied by an able-bodied escort who is willing to assist them in the event of an emergency. Thai Vietjet says that in the case of Mr Kritsana, none of the 4 people travelling with him had agreed to be his escort.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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