View Full Version : LIMBLESS WOMAN SUES Air France

14th Aug 2004, 12:29
This almost sounds like it should be on Jet Blast!!


A limbless British woman was referred to as "one head, one bottom and one torso" by an airline employee who barred her from a flight, it has been claimed.

Adele Price, 42, of Mansfield, who was born with birth defects caused by the drug thalidomide, is suing Air France in New York,

Adele Price, 42, of Mansfield, who was born with birth defects caused by the drug thalidomide, is suing Air France in New York, claiming an employee told her she could not board a flight from the UK because she had no arms and legs.

At a press conference, she claimed the staff member told her that "one head, one bottom and one torso cannot and will not be allowed to fly on Air France" without help.

She claims she suffered emotional and psychological damage and incurred large expenses on the trip from Manchester to New York on August 19, 2000.

She had to pay someone to accompany her on the flight in order to finish the journey, she said.

After she arrived in the United States, she said an Air France agent in New York barred her from a return flight, telling her she needed clearance from an American doctor.

She eventually bought a ticket on British Airways, which let her travel alone.

Air France has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

14th Aug 2004, 14:22
That is horrific! She deserves every penny she gets, and the cabin crew need a kick up the a**s.


Scottie Dog
14th Aug 2004, 17:21

Pardon me but this does not sound like a Cabin Crew issue - more likely checkin, and that of course is so often a ground handling agent and not the airlines own employee.

Still no excuse though!

Scottie Dog

14th Aug 2004, 20:49
Playing devils advocate here, but how is said person supposed to exit aeroplane without help in an emergency???? I suspect the person concerned just turned up at check-in without warning of their peculiar circumstances. Maybe that was the problem? Thinking of the logistics of it, How about actually getting the person onto the flight?

If checkin staff were rude then no escuse, but I find it hard to believe there isnt more to this story than the report....

Captain Airclues
15th Aug 2004, 08:26
These are the BA rules (from www.ba.com )

To ensure the best possible service is provided, passengers should make British Airways aware of their needs at the time of booking or no later than the day before travel.

If you book on the Internet, please call your local British Airways office immediately after you have bought your ticket to make any special arrangements.

Please tell us:

If you have special needs

If you are disabled and have additional needs

The level of your disability and what kind of help you want us to give you after you have checked in

I assume that Air France have the same rules. I wonder whether the lady complied with these rules.


15th Aug 2004, 17:46
An absolutly horrific story in my opinion.

But however, i was under the impression that she was travelling alone and I think under the circumstances she would most certainly need someone to travel with her. Unfortunately crew are unable to offer assistance to someone in this condition. What would have happened to this person in an emergency or should she have needed to visit the lav?

However...sounds like awful treatment at the airport and yes, the ground agent involved deserves a serious slap for this!

Boss Raptor
15th Aug 2004, 18:49
Handled somewhat badly however I cannot, like several previous posters, see how this clearly very 'disabled' person can have expected to have travelled without a) prior notice and b) satisfactory assistance and/or carer along as well - the safety and toilet access issues are clear - if this lady had not notified the carrier and it would appear not made additional support arrangements and the airline was quite correct and within their legal rights/responsibilities to refuse her carriage.

Doubt she'd make any headway in court if she ignored the basic notification requirements but if she is lucky airline will settle with her out of concern for the bad pr - she deserves no more

Should add that if you look at the story one must assume she had been allowed outbound to travel MAN - LON and was allowed on that sector (by what one assumes was an AF affiliated carrier) but then it says she had gone LON - NY on AF? well I have to read into this either a) she was on Delta? AF codeshare but dont read it quite like that or b) had travelled outbound LON - PAR and onward PAR - NY on AF, if so then this is hardly a sensible and/or responsible travel itinerary for a disabled person to choose (with direct options available) with multiple sector/flight changes now was it!

15th Aug 2004, 19:54
Furthermore this passenger being British and Air France, being..err French, why is she suing them in New York? Sounds a bit suspect to me. Maybe she didn't get enough out of the thalidomide claims.

Can't help feeling sorry for her though, it's difficult to place oneself in her position to appeciate what she experienced.

16th Aug 2004, 04:35
I hope she gets squillions from AF.
I'd like to point out that quadrepligics, paraplegics, people missing limbs, epileptics, brain injuries, elderly & frail etc are quite capable of travelling on their own.
As a flight attendant I look after people with disabilities all the time. They are more often than not the most polite and friendly pax on the flight. They are briefed seperately to other pax (in most cases even before other pax have boarded) and they are told and understand that in the event of an emergency they will be last off the aircraft with the crew. In 99% of cases they do not have a carer with them, and nor do they need to. Many people with paralysis have a "bag" for their waste issues during the flight - they are not seen nor are they offensive to other pax, therefore they do not need someone to travel with them to help them with their toilet activities. When it comes to food/drink etc, I happily cut up meals, open packaging, & help with feeding if need be - not just for people with disablilities but for kids, elderly and anyone in general that appears to be having trouble opening that damn cheese packet!!! C'mon y'all know what i'm talking about! ;) All the cabin crew I work with are more than happy to help.
The lady in question's treatment was pure discrimination. I hope the check in/ground service agent in question was sacked!

16th Aug 2004, 15:21
Certainly this was badly handled by the carriers - who may have been overworked and unprepared for the woman's unusual circumstances. But ...

The woman is likely to be in her mid/late 30s and will have become (wearily) used to the difficulties in the use of public transport. I am glad that cabin crew have stated their willingness to help all pax but it is not just once they are aboard. If the woman is using an electric wheelchair to get to the Gate, what happens if there is a Fire Evacuation before she reaches there? So I expect that the Airport Management would be concerned for her too.

If this woman has ever travelled by air before, then she would know that there are aspects of her circumstances that the carrier must know in advance. If she has never travelled by air before, then, given her age and experience, she would know that her circumstances might need to be advised to the carrier. If you are buying a trip across the Atlantic, you would want it go smoothly wouldn't you? So let everyone know of your needs.

To me, this sounds like she has a grievance but not one that requires the intervention of the courts. If she wins, she will probably ensure that carriers will change the Ts&Cs for ALL disabled pax and that any change will not be in the pax's favour. Remember that any carrier (private or public) has a right to deny carriage.

Very sorry to hear about this case that should never have got this far.