A wheelchair user has taken to social media to raise his voice against discrimination faced by him on an Ethiopian Airlines flight in Kenya.
Harun Hassan called out the airline in a series of tweets in which he explained how he had been abandoned at an airport in Nairobi by unhelpful airline and airport staff.
"Today was denied to travel to USA by @flyethiopian because of my wheelchair," Hassan wrote on twitter. "The lady in yellow was rude and insensitive. She said no provision for assistance. They left me alone and stranded with no options," he further added.
Today was denied to travel 2 USA by @flyethiopian bcoz of my wheelchair.The lady in yellow was rude & insensitive.She said no provision for assistance. They left me alone& stranded with no options @ARNOVA @LindseyMcDougle@aeikenberry @MwauraIsaac1 @olesankok@USDOT@Ahmedkadar1 pic.twitter.com/j59i2iKA2y— Harun M. Hassan (@Harunassan) August 27, 2019
Apparently, Hassan, who had a ticket for a flight to US, was told that there was no assistance available for him despite him mentioning the need for a wheelchair on his ticket. He also shared images of a woman who was part of the staff. When Hassan sought assistance from the staff, he was told that they did not have any provisions for people with disabilities traveling alone.
This the lady. She NEVER allowed me to explain my ticket. My first time with @flyethiopian and my first to be discriminated by an airline on the basis of my disability. pic.twitter.com/lVi13Av3ui— Harun M. Hassan (@Harunassan) August 27, 2019
"This clearly goes against the policies and guidelines of Kenya Airport Authority and other international disability travelling laws that this airline subscribes to," the disgruntled passenger wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Accusing the airline staff of discrimination, Hassan wrote that it was illegal to discriminate against people based on their disability.
Following outrage after the tweets, Ethiopian Airlines responded to Hassan's complaints. They apologised to him for the incident and offered him an upgraded ticket. They also urged Hassan to take down the tweets.
However, the man held informed on Twitter that he declined the offer. "I rather fly Economy with respect than a knee jerk inspired ‘comfort'," he went on to add that he flying to the US on a different airline now.
Y’day 5pm @flyethiopian contacted me 4 apologies & offered opportunity of flying a Business Class. However they requested a pulldown of my Twitter& FB posts.I declined.I rather fly Economy with respect than a knee jerk inspired ‘comfort'. I'm flying 2day a different airline.— Harun M. Hassan (@Harunassan) August 28, 2019
This is not the first time that persons with disabilities have faced problems in accessing public spaces or transport. Earlier in May, a wheelchair-using disability activist in Delhi, India was invited to give a lecture on making public spaces more disability friendly. However, the organisers forgot to install a ramp at the venue, inviting much outrage on social media.