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British Airways

BA Pax Says He Was Denied Boarding Because His Wheelchair Took too Long to Load

BA Pax Says He Was Denied Boarding Because His Wheelchair Took too Long to Load
Joe Cortez

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.”

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. roberto99

    November 30, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    There is a spelling error in the title!

    Do you proof read tour work???

  2. AlwaysFlyStar

    December 1, 2017 at 10:19 am

    While I don’t fully understand what is being said (why was he interacting with CBP officers) it seems like he had not gone through security and TSA didn’t let him through. Not sure how this has anything to do with BA. If BA were denying him boarding, he would presumably have already gone through security.

  3. rstruthe

    December 1, 2017 at 10:28 am

    For international flights you are advised to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours in advance. He only arrived “over 2 hours” in advance. What’s the problem here?

  4. The_Bouncer

    December 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Surely his beef is with the TSA, not the airline?

  5. weero

    weero

    December 1, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Finding (no sense in) Dori.

    There used to be clear distinctions between CBP, TSA. and BA …. not anymore thanks to FT …

  6. drvannostren

    December 2, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Yea, there’s no way this would ever look good for the people who denied him, wether they’re right or wrong. But it seems a bit presumptuous that he showed up only 2 hours prior to departure for an intl flight, but also knowing he had to request this security pass…a pass I’ve never heard of, maybe it takes 10 seconds to get one, maybe 30 minutes. Then it sounds like he maybe was slow getting to the TSA line as well? Either that or this security pass took him over an hour to get.

    I’m not gonna single out a wheelchair bound passenger, but ANY special requirements, you should really arrive at least at the recommended time. Us “able-bodied” or otherwise not special needs (lemme finish before the razors come out) passengers can cut that time a bit at our own risk, but it’s due to not needing any assistance. I’ve worked for a ground handler for years and the stuff people try to pull at check-in sometimes is hilarious. Like why show up RIGHT at check-in cutoff when you’re trying to travel with your dog? Why show up last minute with your giant Oboe KNOWING it needs special screening? This passenger KNEW he needed this friend to accompany him and get this pass, so why show up only 2 hours prior? Why chance it? Even if your bag is gonna be overweight, don’t show up last minute, give yourself some time. If you couldn’t check-in at home, don’t show up last minute assuming everything will get sorted out right away.

    Honestly, a wheelchair passenger with no bag and who didn’t need assistance showing up 2 hours prior would’ve been fine. Could’ve gone straight through TSA and been at the gate plenty early.

  7. phred007

    December 4, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Sensationalist reporting- has nothing to do with BA. This is a beef with the TSA.

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