Tiger Airways refuses to board disabled passenger

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu


By Flora Liveris

December 11, 2006 12:00am
Article from: Northern Territory News

A NORTHERN Territory family's dream holiday has been left in tatters after not being allowed to board a Tiger Airways flight from Darwin to Singapore because their daughter is disabled.

Savvas and Irini Maillis were taking their four children on a month-long holiday to Greece, but could not board the Tiger Airways flight on Saturday.

They have now lost about $15,000 in airfares, transfers and accommodation.

Their daughter Artemis said the family got special permission to board the budget airline flight with her disabled sister, but as they were about to board the plane they were told they could not go on.

"We weren't allowed to board the flight,'' Artemis, 24, said.

"We had checked in and were told not to expect any help from the staff, but we said that was ok.

"We went through customs and were all ready to board the plane and then a man stopped us and said we couldn't go on.

"We told him that we had special permission from Tiger Airways in Singapore, and he said even if we did have the ok from the airline, the captain does whatever he likes.

"If we knew that we weren't allowed to travel we would have made other arrangements - now we've lost $15,000.''

The family had their travel agent contact Tiger Airways in Singapore in September and write a letter confirming that Anastasia could board the flight.

The letter says: "I spoke to Sarah from the Tiger Air office in Singapore ... who stated that providing Anastasia has assistance from the people that she is travelling with and does not require assistance from Tiger Air personnel she will be fine to travel on board the flight.''

Artemis said the airport staff made the family demonstrate that Anastasia could walk in front of all the passengers.

"The man said, 'why don't you leave your sister here and you all still go','' Artemis said.

"We asked to talk to the captain, but he didn't even come out - he didn't even see my sister.

"The man then asked what's wrong with my sister ... she has been crying all weekend, just because she can't talk, doesn't mean that she doesn't understand.

"They accept wheelchairs on the plane, but they don't accept the people.

"They treated us like garbage, like we were clowns.''

The Maillis' were told by Tiger Airways that they could not get a, refund and if they wanted their money back they would have to go to court.

A Tiger Airways spokesperson in Singapore said last night it was "unfortunate'' and would investigate the matter further.

"The truth is at this point our planes are not wheelchair friendly,'' she said.

The spokesperson then added: "We do have a policy that if the passengers themselves can actively assist the disabled person on to the plane and everything is sorted out, it is up to the travellers, that's our policy.''


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