A passenger with a disability aboard a Virgin Australia flight has been forced to stand for three hours next to the toilet on an overnight journey from Perth to Brisbane.
The man who describes himself as a loyal Virgin Australia passenger and a frequent flier says he was stunned by the treatment.
Sam Cawthorn is used to adversity.
When he was involved in a major car accident in 2006, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
He was resuscitated but was left with an amputated right arm and a permanent disability in his right leg.
His fused leg means that he simply cannot fit into any old seat on an aircraft.
The former Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania is also tall – at 190 centimetres he usually upgrades to business class when he travels but on this particular flight last Friday it was too late.
He told News Limited that when he boarded the flight and sat down, he realised that the seat wouldn’t work.
So he asked to be moved.
His new seat was located amidst a row of three empty seats but his leg, which doesn’t bend, was left stuck out into the aisle. He was repeatedly hit by the attendant’s trolley.
News Limited reports that he asked for another solution.
But despite seeing numerous suitable options, both in economy and business class, Mr Cawthorn claims the cabin supervisor refused to accommodate him due to “airline policy”.
He even offered to pay for an upgrade but was denied. So Mr Cawthorn had no choice but to stand for three hours near the lavatory, which made his leg and back very sore.
He told the newspaper, “Having spoken in 12 countries regarding resilience, I’m shocked as to why one of Australia’s best airlines would possibly put any of their passengers in a position where there was no choice but to stand for the duration of time between take off and landing. There were many other suitable seats to which the cabin supervisor did not permit a seat change.”
But it seems like we hear stories like this all too often.