Disabled man ‘gutted’ over Jetstar weight drama
A WHEELCHAIR-bound man says he was left stranded in Melbourne for five days after Jetstar refused to fly him home to NSW because of his weight.
Ian Smith, 67, reportedly flew to Melbourne after going to Sydney last month for a Fijian cruise, with Jetstar staff helping him into his seat each time.
But when Mr Smith went to go home to Lismore, his family told 7 News the airline wouldn't let him on board.
His son, David, told the network Jetstar initially refused to spell out why the 67-year-old wasn't allowed on the plane.
David said staff then claimed his father was too heavy to be transferred by the airline's wheelchair.
Mr Smith said the experience had left him "totally gutted".
"They treat me like an idiot and I'm not an idiot. I'm disabled, but I'm still a human being," he said.
In a statement, Jetstar said its staff had breeched policy by lifting Mr Smith onto his seat because it was a safety risk.
"We sincerely apologise to Mr Smith for this situation and appreciate that the inconsistent application of our wheelchair policy has been frustrating," a spokesperson said.
"While Mr Smith has been manually lifted into his seat on previous flights with Jetstar, our airport teams are not approved to perform manual lifts of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance and this shouldn't have occurred."
Jetstar said it arranged for Mr Smith to fly home with Qantas and that the incident was being reviewed.