Thoughts on Jetstar’s discrimination

When Jetstar refused two people the right to fly because they use wheelchairs and didn’t have two caregivers, it raised the endless and ongoing issue of discrimination against people with disabilities.

The debate is not new. It has taken years for disability activists to work with the airlines to ensure access onto all kinds of planes. Clearly Jetstar haven’t developed a coherent policy about respecting people using wheelchairs, or this would not have happened.

The two television presenters were from Attitude, a programme about disability issues, and were rightly appalled at their treatment.

Jetstar say they are too short staffed to help people using wheelchairs. I wonder if they have ever engaged with customers who use wheelchairs about their needs? They have made some big assumptions that everyone needs a carer or companion and cannot ensure they get what they need by way of assistance if they travel as an independent person.

You do have wonder about the attitudes behind this debacle and the institutionalisation of those attitudes into collective discrimination. I doubt whether Jetstar have read the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or the NZ Disability Strategy, but someone in their office might like to check these policies out. Otherwise they won’t just get bad press, they will get a consumer boycott.

8 Comments Posted

  1. OH my god – I can just see a sign popping up on a website, or at the ticket counter saying how much per pound baggage is, and additional fees for the handicap…that will get lots of media attention….Is bad PR still a good thing these days?


  2. Sprout – How about pay per kilo of your body weight?

    That way the price people pay is more closely aligned to how much carbon they are resonsible for.

  3. Where do you get the idea that I think anyone should be excluded?

    “Exclusion” suggests “cant be carried” which is fundamentally different from “capacity policy” or “accompianment policy”.

  4. dbuckly-perhaps you could suggest some guidelines regarding those who should be excluded from budget airlines so that they can keep their prices low? I think it would be very interesting for the rest of us.

  5. Jetstar is a minimalist airline with minimalist policies, but that is how they deliver a very low cost service.

    So here’s the headline: “Greens campaign to make air travel more expensive“.

  6. I’ve flown with Jetstar on exactly 4 occasions, without receiving much in the way of service good or bad. I did get an accommodation on cabin baggage as I carry medication and special foods with me when I travel, and wanted to keep those in the pressurised cabin as hand luggage, which was accepted; although I was advised that ‘my other bag could be considered a handbag for the purposes of counting items of luggage’ – it was a small daypack.

    I suspect if I’d been a guy, I would have been disallowed my zip-up insulated carry bag in the cabin.

  7. Yeah, I hvae to admit that I actually couldn’t institute a boycott against Jetstar because I already strive never to fly with them because they’re always late. but I agree it’s shocking behaviour!

  8. With all due respect Catherine, that is the nature of the low-fare beast – they cut down to the absolute bone in order to provide those ultra low fares. On a proper full service airline on the other hand…

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