Wheelchair-bound man forced to crawl up stairs to reach airplane

The Japanese disabled rights activist, paralyzed from the waist down, was informed by Vanilla Air staff that he would not be able to board the plane because there were no wheelchair-accessible ramps or elevators.

    2017/06/30

NSFW    AMAMI, JAPAN — A well-known disabled rights activist experienced this first hand earlier this month, as he was attempting to board a flight back to his home in Osaka, Japan from the island of Amami.

Paralyzed from the waist down since a rugby injury in his teens, on June 3, Kijima was
informed by Vanilla Air staff that he would not be able to board the plane because wheelchair-accessible ramps and elevators were non-existent. When his friends offered to help by carrying him up the stairs, that solution was also shot down as a safety regulations violation. Upset and needing to get home, Kijima decided to get on the ground and crawl to the plane cabin, one step at a time. Once he reached the top of the staircase, he was permitted to take his seat.

Aside from a similar incident with an All Nippon Airlines flight in 2002, he claims he’s never been prevented from boarding a commercial aircraft as a result of his disability.

According to The New York Times, Vanilla Air has since apologized to Kijima, and as a result of the recent backlash, an electric wheelchair lift was installed last week.
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