Kenya: Passenger Claims Ethiopian Airlines Snubbed Him 'For Being on Wheelchair'

Harun Maalim Hassan who claims the staff of Ethiopian Airlines prevented him from boarding a plane to the US because he was on a wheelchair.

A passenger who was traveling to the United States by Ethiopian Airlines claims he was left stranded on Tuesday morning at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport because he was on a wheelchair.

After being denied to board the plane, Harun M. Hassan vented his frustration on social media.

In a series of tweets, Mr Hassan, who is an author and Disability Rights Campaigner, explained how the airport staff treated him insensitively and denied him assistance because he was disabled.

"They left me alone and stranded with no options," he tweeted.

In another tweet, he says a lady who was at the check-in counter never allowed him to explain about his ticket.

"My first time with @flyethiopian and my first to be discriminated by an airline on the basis of my disability," he added.

Today was denied to travel 2 USA by @flyethiopian bcoz of my wheelchair.The lady in yellow was rude & insensitive.She said no provision for assistance. They left me alone& stranded with no options @ARNOVA @LindseyMcDougle@aeikenberry @MwauraIsaac1 @olesankok@USDOT@Ahmedkadar1

-- Harun M. Hassan (@Harunassan) August 27, 2019

The airline later responded to Hassan's complaints and asked him to share his travel details for further investigations.

Dear Harun

Sorry for what happened to you. please DM your travel detail for further investigation of the case.

-- Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) August 27, 2019

According to Hassan, the airline later apologised and offered to fly him Business Class, but on condition that he deletes his tweets, an offer he flatly declined and instead opted to travel by a different airline.

Y'day 5pm @flyethiopian contacted me 4 apologies & offered opportunity of flying a Business Class. However they requested a pulldown of my Twitter& FB posts.I declined.I rather fly Economy with respect than a knee jerk inspired 'comfort'. I'm flying 2day a different airline.

-- Harun M. Hassan (@Harunassan) August 28, 2019

The decision by Ethiopian Airlines staff to deny Hassan access to travel goes against the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel.

The Department of Transportation has a rule defining the rights of passengers and the obligations of airlines under this law. This rule applies to all flights of US airlines, and to flights to or from the United States by foreign airlines.

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