#1  
Old Sep 17, 2012, 5:58 PM
ravmistri ravmistri is offline
 
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Default How BA treats the elderly

On Sunday 16 September 2012, my family checked my Mum in to travel BA flight 54 from Johannesburg to London. My Mum had a recent knee operation, and thus we requested wheelchair service (to minimise the walking).

After arriving in London, my Mum informed us that the BA assistant pushing her wheelchair had very casually bumped her the wheelchair straight into a corner. My Mum says constantly throughout the service she was very casual in the way she way pushing the wheelchair and my Mum was concerned. The wheelchair hit the wall so hard that it jerked my Mum's foot and consequently her knee back causing my Mum to scream out loud. My Mum says she has never felt such pain post knee operation. Another BA assistant rushed immediately to my Mum's aid, and tried to calm her down, and massaged her knee getting her to breathe more slowly. The original BA assistant did not even apologise to my Mum, not a single word. She didn't even acknowledge the incident.

I am utterly disgusted and outraged at this event. It is absolutely incomprehensible that BA can allow such callous behavior. Is this how BA treats the elderly? Is this the standard behavior one should expect for a disabled traveller? I still cannot believe someone could treat my Mum this way. I am absolutely shattered my Mum had to experience this alone. Subsequent to this, my Mum's knee became very tight and swollen on board. The onboard air hostess's were very helpful and gave my Mum pain killers to ease the pain. Would offering my Mum a first class or business class seat to allow her to stretch her leg and massage it have helped? Probably, but I guess the health and wellbeing of a 64 year old lady is not a high priority on BA's list, nor making up for this most unpleasant experience.

Unfortunately my Mum was too traumatised to take note of the BA assistant's name. She was a young African lady working at the BA checkin at OR Tambo International Airport from 6 pm to 7pm at which point she proceeded to wheel my Mum through security. Despite not having her name, I trust there is sufficient information to track this person down, and I expect disciplinary procedures to be opened against her.

Shocked and disgusted. Not even an apology. Despicable.
  #2  
Old Sep 17, 2012, 6:09 PM
A320FAN A320FAN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravmistri View Post
On Sunday 16 September 2012, my family checked my Mum in to travel BA flight 54 from Johannesburg to London. My Mum had a recent knee operation, and thus we requested wheelchair service (to minimise the walking).

After arriving in London, my Mum informed us that the BA assistant pushing her wheelchair had very casually bumped her the wheelchair straight into a corner. My Mum says constantly throughout the service she was very casual in the way she way pushing the wheelchair and my Mum was concerned. The wheelchair hit the wall so hard that it jerked my Mum's foot and consequently her knee back causing my Mum to scream out loud. My Mum says she has never felt such pain post knee operation. Another BA assistant rushed immediately to my Mum's aid, and tried to calm her down, and massaged her knee getting her to breathe more slowly. The original BA assistant did not even apologise to my Mum, not a single word. She didn't even acknowledge the incident.

I am utterly disgusted and outraged at this event. It is absolutely incomprehensible that BA can allow such callous behavior. Is this how BA treats the elderly? Is this the standard behavior one should expect for a disabled traveller? I still cannot believe someone could treat my Mum this way. I am absolutely shattered my Mum had to experience this alone. Subsequent to this, my Mum's knee became very tight and swollen on board. The onboard air hostess's were very helpful and gave my Mum pain killers to ease the pain. Would offering my Mum a first class or business class seat to allow her to stretch her leg and massage it have helped? Probably, but I guess the health and wellbeing of a 64 year old lady is not a high priority on BA's list, nor making up for this most unpleasant experience.

Unfortunately my Mum was too traumatised to take note of the BA assistant's name. She was a young African lady working at the BA checkin at OR Tambo International Airport from 6 pm to 7pm at which point she proceeded to wheel my Mum through security. Despite not having her name, I trust there is sufficient information to track this person down, and I expect disciplinary procedures to be opened against her.

Shocked and disgusted. Not even an apology. Despicable.
Did you ever stop to think it have have been an accident. We airline staff are human to and are knowen from time to time to make a mistake.

No you and your mum are entitled to free upgrades. As far disciplinary actions they will tell her to be a bit more aware of her sroundings when handling a wheelchair. They will not drag her off to the firing line.

How would like like to be the butt of something like this and to know that someone wants you fired and dragged of hot coals. you have some never asking for the world.
  #3  
Old Sep 18, 2012, 7:12 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I am not sure your Mum handled this situation properly. If she hit her knee with such force that she was in agony, she really should have had a doctor examine her knee before taking the flight. It was a bit irresponsible to take the flight in these circumstances.

In fact, after the accident, BA appears to have handled the situation very sympathetically. You rightly slate BA for the actions of the person bumping your Mum's knee, but it was also a BA person who "rushed immediately to my Mum's aid" and the FA's also sound like they were sympathetic to your Mum.

If the bump was as significant as you say, your Mum should have sought medical attention. If it was not, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.
  #4  
Old Sep 19, 2012, 4:02 AM
Sandra C Sandra C is offline
 
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Default How BA treats the elderly

This is not just BA - all airlines and airports are guilty of refusing to be fully aware of the dangers to their staff and to the passengers by using people who have not been properly trained in pushing wheelchairs. They are also guilty of employing people who have insufficient people or language skills to wheel someone in a wheelchair. People in wheelchairs are not inanimate objects but are often treated as such at airports. Often greater care is taken of property!

For nearly 40 years I have worked trying to bring awareness and improve facilities for people with disabilities, who sometimes were also elderly.

With that expertise I know that the MAJOR PROBLEM in the situation of the lady in a wheelchair being bumped into a wall is that most people assume that pushing wheelchairs is EASY! The reverse is true pushing wheelchairs is HARD and requires specific training.

The following is the assumption of most people – the average person would:
1 not lift a heavy person but would push their wheelchair!
2 not recognise the dangers of a faulty/worn out wheelchair
3 wear unsuitable and therefore unstable footwear to push wheelchairs
4 never think to check that the person feels secure with their pushing!
5 often push wheelchairs too fast for everyone’s safety
6 often push too close to other people, objects or walls
7 weave quickly around slowly moving people causing danger & nausea!
8 have no knowledge of pushing up/down ramps
9 approach a ramp/step from the wrong angle risking toppling wheelchair
10 attempt to push up too steep a ramp
11 not turn wheelchair round to descend backwards down ramp
12 have no knowledge of the dangers of travelators/moving walkways
13 have no knowledge of entering/exiting lifts or automatic doors
14 have no knowledge of ascending/descending a pavement
15 often push too near edge of pavements etc risking toppling wheelchair
16 FAIL TO CONCENTRATE WHILST PUSHING A WHEELCHAIR

I have personally observed all of the above and more at BUSY Airports and with a variety of Airlines for the past 25 years whilst travelling each year for 3 months. I have seen so many small statured women in high heels push heavy people in wheelchairs up and down ramps! Those women are unaware of the huge risk of damage to their own spine in pushing someone heavier than themselves without adequate training and the correct footwear.

Whilst travelling I have often taken the responsibility of the care of elderly/disabled people when the airline/airport staff failed to do so. They were all initially strangers to me but as soon as they realised that I not only knew what I was doing but that I also genuinely cared trusted themselves into my welfare. One very delayed flight I had around 20 frightened elderly people tucked under my wings at an airport in the States. Staff had come and gone on/off duty throughout that day with little concern for those people’s welfare for the 15 hours they waited for the weather to subside. A little kindness costs nothing.

I have trained many, many people in how to push wheelchairs with concern for the person in the chair. My life’s work with the disabled was as a volunteer. None of us know our future – all those years ago I was not to know that I would have an accident skating and break my back so that I now use a wheelchair. How glad I am now that I served and taught others to serve. No one queues up to get a disability but many, who without compassion abused others, may find themselves reliant on the kindness or not of others one day eh!

I have just joined Airline Complaints and will use this site to bring awareness of Airlines/airports that do a bad or good job in caring for the disabled/elderly.

Last edited by Sandra C; Sep 19, 2012 at 4:05 AM.
  #5  
Old Sep 19, 2012, 6:41 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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You should set up a consultancy. I think this is a problem not just in airports, but also in large shopping centres and other public spaces.
  #6  
Old Sep 19, 2012, 9:42 AM
Sandra C Sandra C is offline
 
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Default How A treats the elderly

You are quite right jimworcs the disabled have problems in all aspects of public spaces but this site is about airlines so I will concentrate on challenging them to improve their services.
In recent years I have travelled regularly with easyJet, who provide a great service in that they never patronise me and make me feel that I am not a nuisance. One thing they really get right is that they bring your own wheelchair to meet you as you arrive. On ALL flights I travel with my own wheelchair. It is our usual practice that my husband wheels me to the aircraft door, it is then placed in the hold and we request my wheelchair be returned to the aircraft door on our arrival for my husband to again push me into the terminal.
We do that for 2 reasons
a) to protect me from being pushed around in faulty wheelchairs by people who are mostly ill trained or not trained at all to push wheelchairs.
b) to safeguard my wheelchair from being dumped on baggage belts and being damaged going round and round
Before my accident put me in a wheelchair I fought on behalf of people to get the service for their own wheelchairs to be taken to the plane door if that is what they chose. If your wheelchair is wrecked whilst you are on holiday it would be similar to you having to wear an extremely uncomfortable badly fitting pair of shoes until your own shoes were returned.
The recent Paraolympics have shown what disabled heroes can do in their own wheelchairs. I have rarely found a disabled person who wants my pity – all they need is respect and due consideration.
Three months ago we arrived in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and my wheelchair was not brought to the aircraft door – the man employed by the Airport Authorities knew what he was doing as he pushed me in a very uncomfortable wheelchair but it allowed me no control of my own personhood. If he had tripped I had no way of stopping that particular wheelchair! It also took over an hour for my wheelchair to arrive in the terminal in their system in Paris – at 6 am after a twelve-hour flight that was over the top!!
On our return journey I was to realise why Paris airport trains their wheelchair pushers to do such a good job. 2 people had to accompany us because there is a travelator that at one point actually rides too steeply for wheelchairs both down and uphill to get under a large overhang. I have respectfully requested that the CEO of Malaysian Airlines the next time he is in Paris rides in a wheelchair on that route to note how hazardous that travelator is! It took both assistants and my husband to hold the wheelchair steady as we travelled up the hill even though both brakes were on!! I already know that accidents can break a back!
Thank you for your comments but I don’t want to set up a consultancy I have simply used my life to make people aware one by one and hopefully you will now be aware and look for how you can make others aware that by their attitudes and unawareness they are handicapping the disabled.
  #7  
Old Sep 19, 2012, 6:32 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I know exactly which travelator you mean...it is in CDG Terminal 1 and there is no alternative way. There are a number of complaints on this board from people with disabilities and the ways they have been treated in airports around the world, some are environmental barriers like in CDG and others are attitudinal.

Many times, airlines and airports get so focussed on compliance with the law, they lose any sense of the need for some basic humanity. I have heard many horror stories of people being left in a chair for hours on end with no access to drink, food and water. I personally know of a situation in which someone with an acquired brain injury was refused boarding because he appeared "drunk" even though he had a carer with him who explained the situation and there was no evidence of any drinking whatsoever.

All airlines should be required to have a panel of disability advisors who can address how they can best provide equal access.
  #8  
Old Sep 20, 2012, 12:21 AM
Sandra C Sandra C is offline
 
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Default How ba treats the elderly

Thank you jimworcs – I wish people like you were on the panel of the international airlines to insist that they have a panel of disability advisors. Is there such a panel of collective airline representatives that I could write to?

So many able bods seem to ‘hate’ flying with Ryanair but I have never had a problem with them and my wheelchair, they have always treated me well – it is the major International big boys that have the “basic humanity” problems and I am not so sure that it is about compliance with the law. If they are sued they lose money so they comply with the law. It is all about profit eh! That is why the laws need to be altered then they will provide the needs of those with disabilities eh!

I am NOT talking about ‘pampering’ the disabled just respecting their basic personal needs. Things like being able to have your own wheelchair brought to the door if you so choose – I would actually be prepared to pay extra for that service rather than travel any distance in one of the typical airport wrecks!

Many airlines and members of the general public throw the line that they have seen people who have requested and used a wheelchair to get quickly through the system on arrival BUT in all my years of flight I have seen only one such case and there possibly was a reason behind her use.

The reasons so many people use wheelchairs at airports is because they have become so huge and therefore impossible for the elderly/disabled to walk around AND because Airlines could be sued whilst the person is “in transit” if they have an accident. Moving between connecting flights is being “in transit.” Once you have boarded the first plane of your travel you are “in transit” until you arrive at your destination whether you are travelling on just one Airline or with code share partners. Legally they even have to feed you if you miss your flight through their fault (maintenance etc) or weather problems but very few passengers know that!

Years ago my mother, could have been judged as a person who was pretending to need a wheelchair by those, who did not know the full circumstances of her journey when she had early stage dementia. She was a great looking 75 year old lady returning from New Zealand to the UK and like many times before alone – I was concerned that she would get muddled and lost so I phoned the fabulous Singapore Airlines. Their representative suggested that they give her wheelchair assistance to keep an eye on her in the Singapore changeover and to ensure that she was delivered to my waiting sister at Heathrow London. My mother refused to get into the wheelchair in Singapore but a clever employee asked mum to push the wheelchair for her. Mum was delighted “to help” and we got her home safely – last time we let her fly alone though.

You know I have just realised international Airlines cater for all dietary requirements of the individual, whether it is because of choice (vegetarian), allergy (e.g. peanuts) or religion (Muslims, Jews and Hindus). There are more people that travel with dietary requirements than those requiring wheelchair assistance but they have been sued on the allergy count and probably on the other counts too because it is regarded as “prejudice”. I have never witnessed someone having to fight the Airlines to have their dietary requests met. Interesting eh!

Thank you for your response – another hero!
  #9  
Old Sep 20, 2012, 7:15 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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So when did airlines become medical clinics with licensed nurses and doctors? They didn't. If you fly with any sort of medical condition, it is your decision to accept whatever consequences may occur. You are deliberately placing yourself in the hands of people not trained, nor expected to know more than common first aid.

Mistakes happen. We ALL make them. It's called being human.
  #10  
Old Sep 21, 2012, 5:10 AM
Sandra C Sandra C is offline
 
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Default Thread one - how ba treats the elderly

Gromit801 - I have never requested that airline staff be trained as Medical experts, you have missed the entire point. I am stating that people who are not trained to push wheelchairs are in danger of making more mistakes/having more accidents that could with a little knowledge be avoided. (see item #4 above)

Let us take your argument to the fullest extent as you are an “airline sympathizer” – why bother to train pilots properly? Or train cabin staff just in case we crash? Or train cabin staff in how to handle the public? With your attitude why bother to train anyone including medics? Why bother to learn how to drive a car – just let everyone get in and drive eh!

People are trained so that less mistakes and accidents happen!

All I am requesting is that people pushing others around in wheelchairs have some training. I have trained hundreds of people in my time – it takes less than two hours to train a person, to make them aware of dangerous pushing and possible accidents. That includes accidents to them self as the pusher, particularly if they are pushing someone heavier than they are either up/down steep ramps or up/down kerbing. It is also vital to get them to wear the correct uniform, which is a pair of shoes that have flat heels, have a good floor grip and are laced up – modern sports shoes are ideal.

In every aspect of employment people are trained BECAUSE we are human and we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn from that education or from the mistakes we make.
  #11  
Old Sep 21, 2012, 12:26 PM
lostinlondon lostinlondon is offline
 
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Since EU regulation 1107/2006 came into effect, the onus of providing assistance to passengers with reduced mobility at any airport located in a member state or when travelling from outside of the EU on a community carrier, rest exclusively with the airport operators and no longer the airline. Airlines have an obligation to inform said operators of any specific requirement made by one of their passengers as long as they were given at least 48 hours notice.
The OP should direct his/her complaint at BAA (British Airport Authorities) not BA whose staff would actually [U]not[U] have been involved in the accident.
  #12  
Old Sep 21, 2012, 7:25 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Sandra, nice strawman argument. Apples and Oranges. Air staff are trained to do THEIR jobs. Not the jobs of any level of medical personnel beyond first aid, and in a desperate emergency, the defibrillators on board.

What I have observed in the States, are airport employees pushing the wheelchairs in the terminals, and on the aircraft, not the airline employees.

I'm proud of my red badge of courage. I don't automatically buy into every complaint on here.
  #13  
Old Apr 10, 2013, 5:57 PM
Pelagia Pelagia is offline
 
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Its very bad and unethical behavior. It is the duty of everyone to handle old people with care and dignity. During traveling you should handle your elder under your own observation don't rely on staff.
  #14  
Old Apr 12, 2013, 5:42 PM
Pelagia Pelagia is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagia View Post
Its very bad and unethical behavior. It is the duty of everyone to handle old people with care and dignity. During traveling you should handle your elder under your own observation don't rely on staff.
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  #15  
Old Jul 21, 2013, 8:48 AM
anonymouscomments anonymouscomments is offline
 
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Hi i happen to work for a BA call centre.im very sorry to hear about the bad experience you have had but i would like to make you aware that the staff arent BA staff. Mobility assistance is handled by a third party at any airport not the actual airline itself. I would try contacting the airport to see if they can put you in touch with whoever does actually provide the service.
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