One TikToker says a flight she took didn’t have adequate accommodation for her as a wheelchair user, and she had to – while sitting on the floor – use her hands to push herself down the aisle to use the bathroom.
Jennie Berry, known on social media as @wheelie_good_life, posted a September 20 TikTok of herself sitting on the floor in an airplane aisle while scootering to the plane’s lavatory. She says that when she travels by plane, she usually uses an airline-provided “aisle chair” to move around the plane. An aisle chair is a wheelchair narrow enough to fit in an airplane aisle.
Berry says on her last flight with AlbaStar, the airline said there was “not enough room” for an aisle chair and they wouldn’t help her go to the toilet. She says an “employee” even told her that “disabled people should only wear nappies” or nappies when flying.
“If you have to go, you have to go,” Berry says in voiceover while video is playing of her partner lifting her to the plane’s lavatory. “There is still a lot to be improved in terms of access in the travel industry – and I hope they will be implemented soon.”
As of Tuesday, Berry’s video had over 12 million views on TikTok.
So I had to go to the toilet on my last flight with Albastar Airlines. They told me to wear a diaper and pee in my seat instead of having an aisle chair on board…
♬ Original sound – Jennie Berry
Berry has started a petition on Change.org to make aisle chairs “mandatory on all UK flights”. At the time of publication, over 12,000 people had already signed. In the US, airlines are required to assign people with disabilities “a seat that best accommodates them.” In Berry’s case, that would have been a seat near one of the airplane lavatories.
Berry has disabled comments on her viral video. The TikToker is one of many who have shared their tragic experiences of flying as a disabled person.
In September, a TikToker said American Airlines “forgot” her wheelchair, so when she got to her destination she had to wait hours for her wheelchair. Another TikToker said that Delta broke their custom wheelchair in July 2021.
The Daily Dot contacted Berry via email and AlbaStar via the contact form.
*Initial publication: September 28, 2022 at 2:57 p.m. CDT
Tricia Crimmins is the IRL Editor at the Daily Dot. She is also a New York-based comedian and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has previously written for Mashable, Complex Networks and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/wheelchair-airplane/ Wheelchair user pushes himself with his hands on the aisle of an airplane