Disability rights investigated for flyer in wheelchair

PHOTO: An investigation has been launched into a tourist denied boarding in Chiang Mai due to his disability.(via Best Power Wheelchair)

In 2019, an Israeli tourist booked a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. He sent information about his wheelchair battery 48 hours before the flight, however, upon arrival at Chiang Mai airport, he was informed that the airline did not allow passengers with electric wheelchairs to fly. Now the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken up the case of the man denied boarding because of his disability.

The airline refused to allow the tourist in his electric wheelchair to board a flight. The passenger spoke with staff for an hour and a half, trying to explain the information about his wheelchair battery. Nevertheless, he was still not allowed to fly.

The wheelchair-bound tourist then requested a refund, but this was allegedly denied. He attempted to force his way aboard the plane which resulted in what was only described as an “unspecified incident.”

NHRC Commissioner Wasan Paileeklee says that the airline’s refusal to allow the passenger to fly was a violation of human rights and showed a lack of concern for the passenger’s safety. He also says that this could be a violation of the rights of people with disabilities as stated in the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and even the constitution of Thailand.

The NHRC will also investigate the disability policies of Chiang Mai Airport and the services offered. They are is expected to release a report in 90 days. The NHRC has already made suggestions to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand and Airports of Thailand, emphasizing the rights of disabled individuals to fly.

The NHRC will ask for attention from the Cabinet and the Transport Ministry to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected in the future. The commission’s objective is to improve the services for people with disabilities and to ensure that they have equal opportunities in all aspects of life, including air travel.

Transport News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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