Wheelchair user opens up about 'humiliating' experience on flight: 'Absolutely ridiculous'

·Lifestyle Editor
·4-min read
Wheelchair user Jennie Berry opened up about her recent travel ordeal. (Photo via Instagram/wheelie_good_life
Wheelchair user Jennie Berry opened up about her recent travel ordeal. (Photo via Instagram/wheelie_good_life)

Jennie Berry is opening up about a recent "degrading" experience on an airplane.

The Londoner says she was getting ready to fly from the U.K. to Greece when her flight was transferred from TUI UK to Alba Star Airlines, a Spanish airline with six planes in their fleet.

On Tuesday, Berry — who's paralyzed from the waist down — shared a video of her experience on Instagram.

"Flying as a disabled person" she captioned the post.

"There’s a lot of improvements to be made when it comes to accessibility in the travel industry and I hope they’re made soon."Jennie Berry

In the clip, Berry began by explaining that she usually boards a plane using an aisle chair, which is used in place of a wheelchair to help individuals move about the aircraft. However, she says that "they didn't have an aisle chair on board."

According to Berry, Newcastle International Airport staff were shocked that they had to get her to the middle of the plane after Alba Star staff allegedly said "they wouldn’t let [her] sit anywhere near the front of the plane, even though there were spare seats."

For Berry, this was only the beginning of her problems.

"The flight got worse as when in the air, I asked to go to the toilet and they just said ‘no we don’t have an aisle chair onboard’, with no suggestions of what I was to do," she alleged. "They just proceeded to keep serving the drinks...that they wouldn’t help me. Humiliating."

Berry also had to use the washroom on the flight, which she says was another ordeal.

In the video, Berry is seen shuffling herself down the aisle while fellow passengers offered words of support. Once she arrived at the toilet, she said that her partner helped lift her onto the seat.

"When you’ve gotta go you’ve gotta go so this is what we had to do. One staff member quite rudely told me that disabled people should just wear nappies on board, which I find bizarre that people think that that is the solution to this scenario," she alleged in the video's voiceover.

"Staff were huffing and puffing whilst I held up their all important drinks cart and told me that in 27 years of working on airlines, they never saw the issue of disabled people having to wear nappies before," Berry added in the caption.

Berry says this is the first time she has not had access to an aisle chair when flying.

"Every flight I’ve ever been on has always had an aisle chair, and compassionate staff regarding the struggles disabled people face when travelling," she wrote. "But there is a lot that still needs to be done when it comes to accessibility within the travel industry and I just hope and pray that this is an insight as to why there needs to be change — not only to access, but attitudes too."

"Life as a disabled person can sometimes be downright degrading and embarrassing and unfortunately, this was one of those times."Jennie Berry

Berry ended her caption by revealing her frustration.

"Life as a disabled person can sometimes be downright degrading and embarrassing and unfortunately, this was one of those times. To be outright told to my face that I should wear a nappy when I don’t need to and that they are happy with that policy, made me feel humiliated," she concluded.

"There’s a lot of improvements to be made when it comes to accessibility in the travel industry and I hope they’re made soon," Berry said in the voice over.

In the comments, followers voiced their anger and concern over the issue.

"Why am I not even surprised at this point? Absolutely ridiculous. So glad you filmed this. The reality of our degradation is so important," commented a follower.

"I’m so sorry you had to deal with this! Thank you for sharing and highlighting the s*** disabled people have to endure even in 2022!" shared someone else.

"I’m in shock that this happened! So shocking! So sorry you had to go through this Jennie, thank you for sharing," penned another.

"I’ve watched it so many times and get more angry each time!" added an Instagram user.

Yahoo Canada has reached out to Berry and Alba Star Airlines for comment.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.