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Woman With Disabilities Urges Paralympians to Boycott BA After Her Removal From Flight, Wheelchair Damaged

She was removed from a BA flight and her wheelchair damaged, but traveler Athena Stevens is still waiting for compensation for an incident that happened over three months ago.  

Thanks to an incident which took place onboard a British Airways (BA) flight last autumn, a woman with disabilities has been left without the use of her wheelchair.  

On 19 October, Athena Stevens, who has cerebral palsy, boarded a Glasgow-bound flight from London City Airport (LCY). Stevens says that she had notified the carrier well in advance that she would be traveling with her wheelchair.

Despite Stevens informing BA of her needs, she was removed from the flight shortly after boarding because the carrier said that it was unable to find space for her wheelchair in the plane’s hold. Her electric wheelchair was also damaged during the incident, which Stevens says has had a profound impact on her independence.

“This isn’t a toy they broke, it’s my mobility. My entire life revolves around this wheelchair,” she explained to the Independent.

While airline paid her $860 in compensation, Stevens added that BA did not offer her a replacement flight and has not replaced or compensated her for the damage done to her wheelchair, which cost nearly $43,000.

Stevens further explained to the paper that:

“The events of 19 October [2015] disabled me, more so than I was disabled before. Not having my wheelchair has made me very vulnerable. The problem is, the chair is not being made anymore. There is a possibility that it would be able to be repaired in which case they will need to give me some money as compensation. Everything I do is based around this wheelchair.”

Stevens says Jan. 28 marks 100 days since the incident and the loss of her wheelchair. In light of these events, she has called upon the British Paralympic Association to boycott British Airways (BA) in the run up to the Rio Olympics.

A spokesman for LCY said that the airport is working with Stevens and BA to resolve the matter.

A spokesperson for the carrier added, “We are working with the customer and London City Airport to resolve the issue… the matter is now in the hands of lawyers it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

[Photo: Tom Pilston]

Comments are Closed.
GodOSpoons January 27, 2016

Yes, British Airways. Treat this like a legal thing, not a customer care thing. This is why I don't fly BA.