The kitchen of this Air France passenger in a wheelchair, “deprived of her legs by people who don’t care”

The kitchen of this Air France passenger in a wheelchair, "deprived of her legs by people who don't care"

DR Audrey’s electric wheelchair, here with her service dog Paoli, broke down several times after traveling by plane.

DR

Audrey’s electric wheelchair, here with her service dog Paoli, broke down several times after traveling by plane.

TESTIMONIAL – His electric wheelchair damaged and unusable. This Tuesday, August 16, Audrey Lefebvre returned from her vacation in Corsica on flight AF4241 BIA-ORY from Bastia. Upon arrival, she found her wheelchair folded on the baggage carousel, despite messages “Do not fold / Do not fold” stuck on it.

However, upon leaving Corsica, the Air France staff, according to her, placed her wheelchair in a special box, with oversized luggage, according to procedure. “againstit is a motorized wheelchair, which must arrive through the exterior doors, according to a detailed protocolexplains this almost 27-year-old woman to the HuffPost. And he had specifically written on it not to bend, in French and in English. Couldn’t be more explicit. »

Audrey found her wheelchair bent and damaged on the conveyor belt at Orly airport.
Twitter @AudreyLfbvr Audrey found her wheelchair bent and damaged on the conveyor belt at Orly airport.

Twitter @AudreyLfbvr

Audrey found her wheelchair bent and damaged on the conveyor belt at Orly airport.

When he arrives at Orly, he finds his chair on the treadmill, folded. ” It is a manual chair that includes a motorization system and that absolutely does not fold, she testifies from her home in the Oise. By forcing, the motor is no longer in line and the rolling mechanism no longer works. The remote control cables have been disconnected. » The chair, which costs €8,700, is unusable.

I had to threaten them with a complaint.

And without it, Audrey Lefebvre, who suffers from myopathy, simply cannot move on her own. ” It’s a hassle. I don’t have the strength in my arms to move around in a manual wheelchair, even for a few minutes. »

If he then decides to challenge Air France on social networks – with a message retweeted more than 16,000 times – it is because it has already happened to him several times. ” It’s every time on the same trip, summer, coming back from my holidays in Corsica, at Orly airportsays Audrey Lefebvre. I can hear it happen once, twice why not. But more, you have to stop! »

In 2021, following the same scenario, after waiting 8 months, he obtained a refund for his wheelchair – worth €8,700 – and a reduction of €200 on his next plane ticket.

I had to threaten them with a complaint to get them to react.Audrey Lefebvre points out. And for 8 months, I let you imagine the autonomy… I couldn’t even walk my assistance dog, Paoli. My whole life turns upside down every time. Therefore, he had just recovered an armchair, a few months before history repeated itself.

I don’t understandshe fumes. During the complaint file two years ago, the lady on the phone explained to us that they preferred to pay for a new chair and call temporary workers than hire qualified personnel, because it cost less. »

“Priority follow-up of the file”

contacted by The HuffPost, Air France confirms that the seat was indeed damaged, without shedding any light on the incident. ” On arrival, at Orly, it is Air France that manages the luggage. On the other hand, in Corsica, the cargo is not Air Francea spokesman said. We do not know where the damage occurred, in Corsica or at the time of discharge… »

An investigation is said to be underway to find out when the chair may have been damaged. And the spokesperson added: Ground staff are trained. We transport 600,000 people with reduced mobility and 470,000 wheelchairs each year, remember. Unfortunately, incidents do happen, but they are very limited… And unfortunate, of course. »

However, the company says, so as not to have a trace of incidents» previous years on Audrey Lefebvre. ” Our service dedicated to people with reduced mobility, Saphir, only tracked the same incident last year, but it was on Air Corsica and not on Air France “, we underline.

Saphir is in contact with the clientassures the spokesman, in order to ensure the priority follow-up of the file and the support of the repair or replacement budget, at our expense. »

“What I hope is that it doesn’t happen again”

Saphir offered Audrey Lefebvre to rent a chair while she waited for the dispute to be resolved, at Air France’s expense. Which she accepted, hoping for a solution. But beyond the material cost, it is consideration and respect that is required.

“Replacing the wheelchair is the bare minimum. What I hope is that this does not happen again, She gets angry. For me and for others, it is no longer possible to deprive yourself of your legs because of people who don’t care. »

Air France says it is working to ensure such an incident does not happen again. ” Our Saphir department had a long discussion with the client and her mother on the subject., to see how we can anticipate the situation. »

For Aéroports de Paris (ADP), the responsibility lies with Air France: “Although we work closely with airlines and ensure the proper functioning of facilities, including baggage sorting systems, their management is the responsibility of each airline or its service provider”they told us.

See also in The HuffPost : They fight against the stereotypes of disability with e-sports


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