Frank Gardner on Kenyan Airlines

Frank Gardner, a disabled reporter, has voiced his disappointment with his flying experience. He bought a ticket on Kenya Airways. The airline did not have an aisle chair, which was commonly used for passengers with locomotion difficulties.

The airline told Mr Gardner he had to ask his fellow passengers, for assistance, if he wanted to walk to use the plane’s toilet. The flight was an 8 hour journey, from London’s Heathrow Airport, at Terminal 4, to Rwanda, the capital of Kenya.

On the day of his flight, Mr Gardner showed up at the airport, using a Zimmer brand walking frame. The airline told him that the walker was too wide and unsuitable for use on board the aircraft.

Mr Gardner was traveling with his friends. They supported him by telling the airline that they would boycott their flights if he wasn’t allowed on board. Bowing to pressure, the airline finally allowed Mr Gardner on board.

Kenya Airways asked Mr Gardner to assure them that he could ask his friends for help, should he need to move around, inside the plane. The cabin crew was not going to help him. Kenya Airlines does not belong to the EU group of airlines, that practise non-discrimination against people with disabilities. The airline could not be punished for their decisions on treatment for passengers with special needs.

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