Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Airport assistance

Hello Readers,

It has been a month since the release of  the C.A.A(Civil Aviation Authority) guide to improve assistance for hidden disabilities and with the recent news story of the Paraplegic Man dragging himself through Luton Airport. It is time to ask the question of whether the current airport assistance is good or bad and what can be done to improve the assistance given at airports.

Firstly lets talk about what happened at Luton Airport. A paraplegic man named Justin Levene arrived at Luton airport where his self propelling wheelchair was left. He decided to propel himself across the floor. He was offered assistance but the assistance offered didn't accounted for Justin's right to be assisted unaided and to be able travel independently. Now Justin is currently suing Luton airport for failing to provide adequate assistance. This story leads to me questioning why he was not offered a self propelled wheelchair? was it due to a prejudged notion that disabled people can't be independent that disabled people have to act or look a certain way? after searching for news articles about this I have found some articles which have a similar theme.

While it is great that airports are taking steps to take hidden disabilities seriously however there is still an idea of what a disabled person looks like for example here are some summaries from articles that show what I mean.

Take this article written November 12 from the metro (link to article below) which is about a woman called Hana Islam who is registered as partially sighted and has a condition called Stargardt's disease but due to her interests in fashion and makeup she is able to expertly apply makeup and dress glamorously but according to the article she is often questioned about her appearance with the common misconception that she does not look disabled.

Another article dated January this year about a woman called Nathalie Allport-Grantham who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (a tissue disorder that causes chronic pain)Marfan syndrome which also causes chronic pain and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (which causes dizziness and fainting from standing too long) meaning she has to partially use a wheelchair was talking to a staff member was told that she was wasting the staff members time and that the staff member was waiting for someone who can't walk. As it turned out that staff member had been the booked assistance she was looking for but was refused help from that staff member because she didn't fit that staff member's idea of an disabled person.

To conclude with providing a further question. Why does the assistance seem to fail from travelling through London? has London become a place where despite being a capital city with people constantly travelling through day in and day out and people constantly asking for assistance that the only way to get assistance is to look a certain way?

Links to articles:
Metro Article

CAA Guide

Independent Article

Luton Airport Article

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