Disabled woman describes 'humiliating' moment she dragged herself to AlbaStar plane toilet

Plane journeys can be unpleasant at the best of times, but no one should be subjected to humiliation on board.

Unfortunately, this was precisely what one disabled woman endured when she boarded a flight to Thailand – a trip that was intended as a birthday treat.

Natalie Curtis, from Queensland, Australia, said she was forced to “get on the floor and crawl” to the door of the aircraft when she landed in Bangkok because the cabin crew refused to let her use a wheelchair for free.

She recounted the ordeal in an interview with 7News, describing it as “the most humiliating experience” she has ever suffered when travelling.

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Natalie explained that she was flying with the low-cost airline Jetstar from Townsville, with a stop in Singapore, when the confrontation occurred last week.

Her own wheelchair was too wide for the cabin so she needed to use what’s known as an aisle chair on the flight.

Natalie said Jetstar provided her with one of these when she re-boarded the plane in Singapore, but was told that when they arrived in Thailand she’d have to pay to use another chair to get off. Not only this, but she would have to wait 40 minutes for it.

Curtis was stunned, explaining that she’d never been asked to pay on any previous journeys. She said she was left with no option other than to crawl eight rows down the aisle to exit the plane.

Natalie’s friend Natasha Elford, who filmed the incident, confirmed that staff did offer to carry her to the door, “but if they dropped her that would have been 10 times worse,” she said.

Natalie also admitted that the language barrier may have contributed to the staff’s understanding of the issue.

Jetstar responded to the fall-out by denying that the aisle chair was was withheld until payment was made, saying in a statement saying: “We unreservedly apologize to Ms. Curtis for her recent experience while traveling with us.

“We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all our customers, including those requiring specific assistance.

“Regrettably, this was not the case for Ms. Curtis following a miscommunication that resulted in the delay of an aisle chair being made available at the gate on arrival and we are looking into what happened as a matter of urgency.”

The airline has since provided Natalie with a full refund and other compensation, but she vowed to never fly with the company again.

She told 7NEWS. “I definitely don’t want anyone else to go through what I had to go through."

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