by: Dr. Anton Anderssen – special to eTN |
When I fly, I usually buy my tickets a year in advance and request seats that specifically accommodate my disability.
In March of 2022, I purchased two tickets from Honolulu to Sydney Australia on Qantas’ Jetstar brand, in business class. I requested seats 1A and 1C specifically for access and against the wall because I can’t stay upright for 10 plus hours. I was assigned 1A and 1C.
Sometime in January 2023, Qantas’ Jetstar canceled my flight, placed me on a March 25 departure, and never told me. I found out by accident. They also didn’t put me back in 1A and 1C, they put me in the middle section with a stranger next to me. The configuration is 2/3/2.
I filed a discrimination complaint with the USDOT because they gave my seats away to able-bodied people. Those handicap-friendly seats are typically enjoyed by employees, families of employees, or friends of employees. Qantas’ Jetstar told USDOT they re-accommodated me in 1G and 1J, which are bulkhead seats on the aisle.
On March 15, 2023, I discovered just as soon as they denied to the US government, they were discriminating against me, they moved me out of 1G and 1J and put me in a middle section seat again. Being in the middle section, without a wall/window for support, I have to be tied up in restraints, like a mentally ill patient in an insane asylum. The restraints draw stares and have the effect of being “shown off” like a deformed human in a freak show.
I believe after they made the claim to the US government about wanting to accommodate my disability, they intentionally moved me again – as retaliation, to harass and intimidate me for filing the US complaint against them.
The USDOT case number PC2023 03 0042 and ESID 441500 is written in a letter from Qantas’ Jetstar, where they assured the US Government, I was going to be seated in 1G and 1J for this long and arduous flight. It is signed by Zoe in the Customer Advocacy Team.
I will be following up in a forthcoming article, for travel professionals and the disabled community, with photos, to show the humiliation and intimidation disabled customers are forced to endure because the airline wants to give handicap-friendly seats away to favored employees and their friends. It’s behavior similar to parking in a handicap spot when a person isn’t disabled.
Throwing us out of 1G and 1J was vicious behavior on the airline’s part, especially since I purchased the tickets a year ago, and filed the USDOT complain in January. They had plenty of opportunity to do the right thing but chose not to do so.
Full article: Qantas’ Jetstar Repeatedly Mistreats Disabled Passenger
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