Thursday 3 January 2019

GERMANY: Disabled Wheelchair Passenger Thrown Off Ryanair Flight

A disabled teenager was reportedly thrown off a flight after his electric wheelchair signaled safety concerns.

Noel Diaz of Aachen in Germany, was looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family members in Alicante. Together with his father Jose, 19-year-old Noel travelled to Cologne-Bonn Airport to board their Ryanair flight however claims he was turned away.

Noel, who suffers from muscle atrophy, a disease which results in the partial or complete wasting away of the mass of the muscle, has been wheelchair-bound since the age of 12 and says he is well aware of the rules when it comes to taking his wheelchair on an aeroplane.

Weeks prior to departure, Noel and his dad booked the tickets and cleared the paperwork with the airline in which they have to give the precise type of electric battery which powers the wheelchair.

However, just before take off on Christmas Eve, the father and son were in for a nasty surprise when the Ryanair flight attendants reportedly asked them to leave the plane.

Jose said my severely disabled boy and I just had our seatbelts fastened when the flight crew asked us to leave the aircraft.

Noel’s wheelchair could not be transported because of safety reasons. They said there was a danger of explosion. Despite their protests Noel and Jose had no choice but to leave the aeroplane.

Jose said the Ryanair personnel were tough as nails, heaving my defenceless boy out of the plane seat, pushing him onto the tarmac.

Both passengers were officially offloaded from the flight and forced to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve back in Aachen instead of with the rest of the family in Alicante. According to the Diaz family, Ryanair refused to refund the €120 (£108) for the tickets.

They say the incident was so traumatic that Noel does not want to board an aeroplane again in the near future. Mum Natalia Diaz said it will take some time until he has processed this trauma.

According to aviation law passengers are allowed to take devices using so-called gel (gelified electrolyte) batteries when they are pre-cleared with the airline.

The wheelchair might however be subject to a maximum size, power and weight and must have its battery disconnected during the flight.

Tourism Observer

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