A passenger from Queensland who requires wheelchair service ended up crawling down the aisle of a plane after she was allegedly told by Jetstar flight crew to pay for an aisle chair to disembark.
In a Facebook post on Monday (Oct 31), Ms Natalie Curtis described the episode as “definitely the most humiliating experience I have had travelling”.
Ms Curtis was on a Jetstar flight from Singapore to Bangkok last week when the incident happened.
Australian television news service 7NEWS reported that she refused to pay for the added cost of the aisle chair – a special transfer wheelchair to get off the plane.
She also said she has never paid for the service before, so she decided to crawl off the plane to reach her wheelchair.
According to 7NEWS, Ms Curtis had flown from Brisbane to Singapore with “no drama”, and got onto the flight from Singapore to Bangkok using an aisle chair to get to her seat.
It was when she landed in Bangkok that she was allegedly told that she would have to pay to use the same aisle chair.
Jetstar has since apologised to Ms Curtis.
In response to CNA’s queries, a Jetstar Group spokesperson said on Monday: “We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all our customers, including those requiring specific assistance.
“Regrettably, this was not the case for Ms Curtis following a miscommunication that resulted in the delay of an aisle chair being made available at the gate on arrival and we are looking into what happened as a matter of urgency.
“At no point was an aisle chair withheld due to a request for payment.”
Jetstar added that its customer team has contacted Ms Curtis to better understand what happened and to offer her a refund, as well as additional compensation.
CNA understands that Jetstar Airways does not require payment for the use of an aisle chair. The aisle chair was also requested on arrival but the crew were advised that it was not available for at least 40 minutes.
In the meantime, Ms Curtis’ wheelchair was brought onto the aircraft but was too big to fit down the aisle.
Eventually, she decided to make her own way from her seat to the forward galley where her wheelchair was.
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