Disabled passenger can’t get home because airline says he’s TOO HEAVY – despite flying him out

Ian Smith, from Australia, travelled with Jetstar from Ballina to Sydney on January 22.

He then flew from Sydney to Melbourne on February 2 without difficulty.

On both occasions, he was assisted by staff from the airline.

However, the airline refused to allow the 67-year-old to travel back to his home in Ballina on February 8, citing his weight as a problem.

He was left stranded in a hotel room for five days while trying to sort out his return flight.

Ian, who served as a police officer for 29 years before being left wheelchair bound by a stroke, described the experience as "b****y traumatic".

He told 7 News: "They treat me like an idiot and I’m not an idiot. I’m disabled, but I’m still a human being."

His son, David, said the airline didn't give a "distinct reason" for why he was denied boarding.

According to 7 News, Jetstar confirmed Ian's weight was the issue and said the staff who aided him on recent flights were breaching company policy and should not have allowed him to board.

They have since apologised to Ian for the incident and the 67-year-old was flown home five days later by Qantas, Jetstar's sister airline.

However, Ian has since claimed he would never fly with Jetstar again after feeling "gutted" about the whole experience.

A Jetstar spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: "We sincerely apologise to Mr. Smith for this situation and appreciate that the inconsistent application of our wheelchair policy has been frustrating.

"While Mr. Smith has been manually lifted into his seat on previous flights with Jetstar, our airport teams are not approved to perform manual lifts of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance and this shouldn’t have occurred.

"Manually lifting passengers requiring wheelchair assistance can create a safety risk for our staff and the passenger being carried.

"We have made arrangements with Qantas on this occasion so that Mr Smith and his carer can fly home.

"A review of Mr Smith’s experience is underway and we have reminded our teams of the correct procedures to prevent this happening again."

A disabled passenger was reportedly left stranded at an airport in Chicago overnight last year after her flight was cancelled.

Olimpia Warsaw, 67, was said to have been abandoned by staff and forced to spend hours by herself in her wheelchair when they failed to help her to her hotel.

In another incident, a British passenger was forced to miss his holiday to Madrid when he was left stranded in his wheelchair at Manchester Airport after being denied boarding.


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