Air New Zealand Sets Bad Precedent

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Last year at this time Air New Zealand joined the backlash to progress for travelers with limited mobility.

AIR NEW ZEALAND GROUNDS WHEELCHAIR USER
(From GLOBAL ACCESS DISABLED TRAVEL NETWORK E-ZINE

VOLUME VI, NUMBER 3

March 2005

Copyright 2005, Global Access

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/1502

Air New Zealand enforced its no-lifting policy and grounded wheelchair traveler, Alan Harkin, at Christchurch Airport in mid-February. Harkin, whose able-bodied sister previously assisted him on their UK to New Zealand trip, was suddenly in need of a helper after she was injured in a car accident during their travels. Her injury restricted her from lifting him to his seat.

Air New Zealand refused to allow Harkin to fly until a nurse (paid for by his own insurance company) flew from England to New Zealand to assist him in boarding the plane with his sister. Surely this marks one of the most costly (and long distance) temporary care provider scenarios imaginable. Unlike Qantas, which provides able-bodied lifters for disabled travelers, Air New Zealand enforces their no-lifting policy on both domestic and international flights. According to Air New Zealand, they are now testing lifting aids to assist their crew members.

Further reading:

Air New Zealand grounds disabled tourist
http://www.etravelblackboard.com/index.asp?id=35121

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