Qantas’ Jetstar Repeatedly Mistreats Disabled Passenger

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.

image courtesy of A.Anderssen

Full article: Qantas’ Jetstar Repeatedly Mistreats Disabled Passenger
Copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News