On Sunday the 5th of September I flew from Copenhagen airport to fly to Keflavik, Iceland.
On arrival my wheelchair had been badly damaged, so everything was bend. The damage suggest that the wheelchair had fallen from a great height, first itting a hard surface with the upper right corner, close to the push handle, and then tumbling making a mark on the front left side. A damage that would correspond to the really loud noise we heard from the plane at the time, when the wheelchair was to be loaded on the plane.
The wheels of the wheelchair were functioning, even though it was painful to sit in, due to the damage. So, I elected to keep using the wheelchair until I returned to Denmark and just made a registration of the damage.
Unfortunately, the damage itself was the least of the problems.
The airline initially told me there was an 8 to 10 weeks responds time, before they would handle my complaint. Then as I complained to the national aviation authorities, they told me they would not respond until that was settled and now, after more than three months I still haven’t received any response, except for a message through the national authorities, which subtly questions whether I might have made the damage myself but also states they will pay according to the Montreal convention, which is 1/10 of the actual wheelchair cost. The national aviation authorities still haven’t made their final conclusions.
The travel insurance companies say that they shouldn’t cover the cost as it isn’t me who own the wheelchair (it is owned by the local authorities). And they demand a lot of paperwork.
Part of my job is to travel, but for more than three months that has not been possible due to a damaged wheelchair. Everyone tries to avoid any costs related to this and the worst if, even when I might manage to get a new wheelchair, it is just a matter of time before it happens again, because nothing is being changed.
Incident submitted by Sif Host, Disability rights advocate. Candidate to the CRPD Committee. Vice-Chair DPOD. Member of the European Economic and Social Committee and Nordic Council’s Disability Council.