Old 23rd Nov 2009, 23:03
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Jetstar forces wheelchair passenger to crawl across tarmac

Jetstar apologises over Fearnley incident

Nov 24, 2009

Jetstar has apologised to Paralympian Kurt Fearnley after he criticised the airline for making him check his personal wheelchair in with his luggage.
Fearnley, a wheelchair marathon champion, says he chose to crawl through BrisbaneAirport rather than use an unsuitable chair offered by the airline.
Jetstar spoke to Fearnley's senior manager this morning before issuing a public apology.
In a statement, the airline said the complaint has been clarified and Jetstar would privately address the matter with Fearnley.
"Jetstar apologises to Fearnley for any embarrassment and hurt that may have been caused as it was not intended," the statement said.
"Our airline's policy for a passenger in a wheelchair being transported to and from a Jetstar aircraft, in the case of a self propelled chair, is that they are transferred from their own wheelchair into a specifically designed airline wheelchair at or near the boarding gate. "
Fearnley slammed Jetstar last night after being separated from his wheelchair at Brisbane airport.
He had just returned to the country after conquering the Kokoda Track.
The 28-year-old claimed he had to crawl across the tarmac and through a bathroom after refusing to travel in a wheelchair provided by the budget airline. He said he was unfamiliar with how the supplied wheelchair operated.
"I said there is not a chance that I am going to sit there and be pushed through an airport," Fearnley said.
"An able-bodied equivalent, a normal person's equivalent would be having your legs tied together, your pants pulled down and be carried or pushed through an airport."
Fearnley finished his gruelling Kokoda challenge last Wednesday after crawling ten days through the dense Papua New Guinea terrain in searing heat.
The trek began just a week after the NSW athlete won his fourth consecutive New York wheelchair marathon.
Fearnley, speaking at the National Disability Awards in Canberra last night, said Jetstar's rules took away a person with a disability's "right to chose".
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