After damaging his £4,000 wheelchair, British Airways allegedly paid a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who is confined to a wheelchair only £50 in future travel coupons as compensation.
Rae Surtee, a wheelchair basketball player for the Leicester Cobras, was just flying to Sweden with British Airways when his wheelchair was stowed in the cargo hold.
Rae discovered that the frame of his chair had been “cracked and ripped” when he received it back. Rae’s wheelchair is a custom-built, one-of-a-kind chair made especially for wheelchair basketball players.
Rae compares his chair to his legs, without which he would be entirely immobile. The wheelchair manufacturer estimated that the frame damage would cost £539 to repair, but offered to repair the brakes for free.
@British_Airways broke my wheelchair on a flight to Sweden and offer me a £50 e flight voucher is this some kinda joke you break my over 4 grand chair my legs essentially and just offer that as compensation!!!!!!!!!
— Rae Surtee (@Raezer13) June 5, 2022
British Airways, on the other hand, initially only provided £50 in compensation in the form of future travel vouchers. Rae claims that after he filed a complaint, BA began to “ghost” him, but the airline subsequently contacted him and promised to rectify the matter.
BA acknowledged in a statement that it has “been in contact with the client personally and has remedied the situation.”
The treatment of wheelchair users in the aviation industry has come under fire in recent weeks when it was revealed that, due to a shortage of properly trained workers, travelers requiring further help were often left on planes long after the rest of the passengers had exited.
Victoria Brignell, a paraplegic, was forced to wait for an hour and a half on an empty British Airways plane before being helped earlier this week, prompting the Gatwick airport to issue a groveling apology.
A spokesperson for the airport said the treatment Victoria received was “unacceptable” and promised an investigation. Industry insiders, however, say the issues are symptomatic of the sector’s reliance on contracting out services to the lowest bidder.