A manual wheelchair sitting on grass

Come fly the friendly skies, we'll break your legs for you

First Published: Sun Sep 17 2023
Last Updated: Sun Sep 17 2023

I haven't done a lot of non car travel since I got home from the hospital almost three and a half years ago, and I certainly haven't done any flying, but stories like this - How a trip home on Qantas left disability advocate Akii Ngo stranded with a broken wheelchair - give me the heebs.

The tl;dr is Akii Ngo took a short flight from Canberra to Melbourne, on one end they had a functioning powered wheelchair that enabled them to move around and be part of society, on the other they had this:

The entire left side of the wheelchair had become detached, with numerous mounting screws loose and missing, as well as a crooked guard cover and misaligned wheel.

In essence if Akii had been a non disabled passenger, it's the same as if they came and knee capped her halfway through the flight.

The sad thing is that this sort of story isn't unusual. Here's a sample:

I'm a long way off needing to fly anywhere, but I'm not seeing an industry that's putting the interests of their disabled passengers front and centre. Chairs should never be treated as "luggage", they are expensive tools, tailored to their users and the damage can have real health consequences, both physical and mental. 


I really need to do more Tech & Disability blogging don't I.