Passenger claims he would have boarded flight if he were “able-bodied.”
A disabled passenger who got stuck in a Transportation Security Administration security line is accusing British Airways of specifically denying him boarding in October, claiming he could have make the flight if he were “able-bodied.” The Evening Standard reports 31-year-old Gill Dori is now considering legal action against the flag carrier for what he alleges was nothing short of discrimination.
Dori suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular condition which requires him to use a mobility scooter. Prior to being caught in the TSA line, Dori says he arrived over two hours early to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) to request a security pass for his friend, who would assist him with situations including standing and using the restroom. His scheduled flight would take him through London before continuing to Tel Aviv.
This caused him to wait longer outside of security, but Dori claims he was still on time when he joined the line. During his wait, he claims security agents and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers stopped him from boarding the flight, because he would not have time to clear security. He accused the security team of telling him that if he had been able-bodied, he would have had time to get on his aircraft.
“They said that they made the decision because I used a wheelchair and if it was an able-bodied person then they would not make this decision,” Dori told the Evening Standard. “They said it would take too long for them to get the wheelchair on the plane.”
After filing a formal complaint, Dori was referred to Britain’s Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution for mediation. Although he told the newspaper that legal action was under discussion, Dori has not announced if he will sue the airline.
In a statement to the newspaper, British Airways defended their decision because Dori was still in the security line when the gate closed, but confirmed that he was rebooked for the next day. A spokesperson continued by saying even “an able-bodied person would not have got through either.”