After IndiGo airlines received flak for not allowing a disabled boy aboard a flight, another instance of inconvenience for wheelchair-using citizens at the airport surfaced. An Indian para swimmer has alleged that he was not provided a wheelchair for over an hour on the airport.
Para swimmer Mohammed Shams Aalam Shaikh said that he was waiting for a wheelchair appropriate for him at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for over 90 minutes on Monday evening, despite providing all the information for his needs beforehand.
Aalam had said that he was flying from Melbourne and had just landed after a 12-hour flight, after which he faced major inconvenience at the Delhi airport. He landed in Delhi on Monday evening and described his ordeal on social media.
Aalam said he had informed Air India’s cabin crew that he wanted his own wheelchair after landing but was provided one that was “uncomfortable” and sized XL.
Dear @airindiain i landed with AI 309 5 pm at @DelhiAirport . I am a wheelchair user and I informed cabin crew that I need my wheelchair at gate. After an hour i am still waiting and not received my personal wheelchair. I need to use washroom no one supporting.
— Shams Aalam (@IamShamsAalam) June 6, 2022
Posting a tweet on social media, the para swimmer said, “Dear Air India, I landed with AOI 309 at 5 PM on Delhi airport. I am a wheelchair user and I informed cabin crew that I need my wheelchair at gate. After an hour I am still waiting and not received my personal wheelchair. I need to use washroom no one supporting.”
However, an Air India spokesperson said Aalam was provided with an aisle wheelchair “as per procedure from the aircraft as soon as the flight landed”.
“His personal wheelchair arrived at the belt in a while after due security clearance. He was escorted by airport handling personnel throughout. The inconvenience caused by the delay, which was beyond our control, in the arrival of his wheelchair is regretted,” said the spokesperson, as per ANI reports.
Aalam, who actively tweeted about the issue, said, “The wheelchairs at airports are big. Nobody can drive them on their own, they have to be pushed. How can I ask someone to come to the washroom? If other countries can provide their own wheelchairs, why are we not getting them in India? It’s not the first time I have faced this, it has happened in the past on domestic flights.”
The para swimmer further urged Air India to look into the matter and conduct proper sensitization training for their personnel so that another person with a disability does not face such an issue.
(With ANI inputs)
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