A disabled woman has shared a video of the shocking moment when she was forced to drag herself down the aisle of a plane to use the toilet.
UK resident Jennie Berry was flying from London to Greece with TUI UK, but the airline moved her onto its sister-company Alba Star Airlines.
The Spanish company’s Boeing planes were not equipped for wheelchairs and didn’t carry an aisle chair for her, meaning she could not get up and down without assistance.
Ms Berry, paralysed from the waist down, was told mid-flight she would have to drag herself on the floor to access the aircraft’s facilities.
‘The flight got worse as, when in the air, I asked to go to the toilet, and they just said ‘No, we don’t have an aisle chair onboard’, with no suggestions of what I was to do,’ Berry said in an Instagram post.
‘Apparently, that’s their solution – to ask disabled passengers to pee in their seats. Hopefully, that solution doesn’t result in any leaks.’
A disabled woman was humiliated after being forced to drag herself down the aisle of a plane to use the toilet when staff informed her the alternative was to ‘wear nappies’
UK resident Jennie Berry was flying from London to Greece with TUI UK but the airline moved her onto its sister-company – who were not prepared for her needs
Airline staff told Ms Berry ‘there was no possibility of sitting anywhere near the front of the plane’, which would have significantly improved the situation.
She claims workers told her ‘disabled people should wear nappies on board’.
Instead, she was forced to use her own upper body strength to drag herself down the aisle on her back.
Other passengers can be heard offering positive words of encouragement as Ms Berry made her way up the plane.
‘Staff were huffing and puffing while I held up their all-important drinks cart,’ she said.
‘When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.’
Ms Berry was forced to use her own upper body strength to drag herself down the aisle on her back
Ms Berry said she’s never been on a flight that didn’t have an aisle chair.
Her partner Owen, who filmed the situation, was also forced to help her onto the toilet due to not having the appropriate equipment.
‘Without video footage like this, disabled people simply aren’t believed,’ Ms Berry said.
‘What I’ve shared is just about getting to the toilet, not the toilet itself. Even if there is an aisle chair, a lot of disabled people are unable to transfer onto the small loos.’
When she left the bathroom, a family offered Ms Berry their seats at the front of the plane, but the wheelchair-bound woman said it shouldn’t have gotten to that point.
Her partner Owen, who filmed the farcical situation, was also forced to help her onto the toilet as a result of not having the appropriate equipment
‘Life as a disabled person can sometimes be downright degrading and embarrassing and, unfortunately, this was one of those times,’ she said.
‘To be outright told to my face that I should wear a nappy when I don’t need to, and that they are happy with that policy, made me feel humiliated.
‘There is a lot that still needs to be done when it comes to accessibility within the travel industry and I just hope and pray that this is an insight as to why there needs to be change – not only to access, but attitudes too.’
Ms Berry is appealing for airlines to improve its procedures for the disabled as many wouldn’t have had the strength or capability to drag themselves up the aisle in the same manner.
Albastar has since posted an apology on Instagram.
‘Our main concern is the safety and comfort of all our passengers on each and every flight we operate,’ the statement read.
‘We are working to investigate the incident to ensure that this isolated incident does not happen again on any of our aircraft.’
Albastar is a Spanish airline which tends to fly between smaller airports in Europe.