An Australian budget airline has apologized after a woman was forced to crawl off the aircraft because staff couldn’t provide a wheelchair for her in time to get her to her connecting flight.
Natalie Curtis was flying from Singapore to Bangkok, Thailand, and was on the last leg of her journey from Townsville, Queensland, on Jetstar airline when the incident occurred, Business Insider reported.
Curtis spoke with the Australian Channel 7 breakfast show, Sunrise, and said she was offered a standard aisle wheelchair to board the flight in Singapore.
But when she got to Bangkok, staff allegedly told her she would have to pay to use another wheelchair to get off the plane, which she refused to do.
The airline has denied that there was a payment request.
Curtis admitted that the incident may have resulted from a language barrier.
The person traveling with Curtis had a knee injury and could not help her, which left her to make her way off the plane by dragging herself down the aisle.
Curtis shared a video of the incidents with the outlet.
She also posted about the situation in a Facebook group, saying she had “never felt so degraded” in her life.
A rep for Jetstar told Insider the airline has since apologized for the incident and clarified that it did not charge for wheelchair use.
“We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all our customers, including those requiring specific assistance.”
The spokesperson continued: “Regrettably, this was not the case for Ms. Curtis following a miscommunication that resulted in the delay of an aisle chair being made available at the gate on arrival, and we are looking into what happened as a matter of urgency.”
“At no point was an aisle chair withheld due to a request for payment. Our customer team has contacted Ms. Curtis to better understand her experience and to offer her a refund, as well as additional compensation,” they added.
A Queensland woman with a disability has been filmed crawling along the aisle of a Jetstar flight after being asked to pay for a wheelchair to be transferred from her seat. Natalie Curtis refused because the service is normally free. https://t.co/VZ3A1cpmr5 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/Q5e9EBhybo
— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) October 31, 2022