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Blind Man Physically Ejected From Dragonair Plane

October 4th, 2008 - Saturday

Jim Fruchterman blogged about this in Dragonair Hauls Rami off the Plane together with photographs of the incident. Scott Rains and Katja Stokley plugged it in A Rocket Scientist Witnesses a Blind Man Being “Launched” from a Dragonair Flight and Hauled off the Plane respectively.

Avraham Rabby
, a retired US Foreign Service Officer, was physically removed from a Dragonair plane in Hong Kong for declining to move to the window seat allocated to him. He had switched to the aisle seat with another passenger. Apparently, DragonAir has a cabin seating policy which purportedly is a safety requirement of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department. This policy compels people with reduced mobility including those with vision and hearing impairment, and persons who are frail and elderly to take window seats.

Like Katja, I find this “only window seats for disabled people policy” discriminatory, especially when the seats are not on an exit row. I applaud Avraham Rabby for his courage and conviction in standing up against such unfair practices. If only the disability rights advocates in the Barrier Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) in Malaysia have the same courage to stand up against similar discriminatory practices instead of trying to shut me up when I revealed my bad experience with AirAsia.


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2 Responses to “Blind Man Physically Ejected From Dragonair Plane”

  1. ex penang boy says:

    I think we’ve been here before Pete, its not discriminatory but a safety issue with single aisle planes which dragonair operates.

    Peter:
    I know we have gone through this before but the thing is that Jim Fruchterman wrote that Rami boarded China Eastern Airlines two hours after that incident but was not compelled to take a window seat. However, Jim did not mention if the China Eastern Airlines was a single aisle plane or otherwise. Malaysia Airlines has never imposed “only window seat for disabled people policy” all the time I flew in their single aisle planes. AirAsia allowed me to take the aisle seat from KL to KK but imposed the window seat rule on the return leg. Just want to point out the inconsistencies among the airlines if there really was such a rule. (Correction: AirAsia allowed me to take the seat between the aisle seat and window seat on my flight from KL to KK. At no time was I asked to take the window seat.)

  2. ex penang boy says:

    I guess the inconsistencies have to do with what is company policy as laid out to comply with regulatory requirements and your staff knowing company policy and compliance.
    Differences arise when procedures are not spelled out clearly, staff have not been properly trained or lack book knowledge,complacency or plane is not full and not all seats are occupied.Confusion also arises when an airline operates more than one aircraft type.
    Going by what happened in KK, I reckon the staff knew their policies well as they stuck to their guns and did not back down whereas the staff in KL probably didn’t.

    A disabled person occupying an aisle seat will impede movement of non disabled passengers in the inner seats which could result in greater casualties and injuries especially in an unplanned emergency.
    These can be serious issues especially when something happens and lives are lost and lawsuits filed.

    Peter:
    Thank you for sharing this. I will check with Malaysia Airlines on their official policy in this matter. Whatever the argument from both sides, I agree that safety is of the utmost importance and in a sticky issue like this everyone should know the ground rules.