Last updated: 11:50 AM ET, Wed February 03 2016

Disabled Woman Allegedly Forced to Crawl from Airplane in India

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | February 03, 2016

Disabled Woman Allegedly Forced to Crawl from Airplane in India

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A 57-year-old disabled woman is accusing Air India of making her “crawl” to the passenger shuttle bus after the airline denied her a wheelchair.

According to, disabled rights activist and Ambedkar University professor Anita Ghai claims she was not immediately provided a wheelchair following a flight, and was forced to crawl from her seat to the plane’s stairs and another 50 feet on the tarmac to the waiting shuttle.

In response, Air India has denied the allegations.

READ MORE: United Fined For Treatment of Passengers With Disabilities

Ghai is now demanding that the airline issue an “unconditional apology”, and is stunned that Air India is denying her claims, calling for legal action to be taken against the company and its officials.

In an ironic twist of fate, Ghai was en route home after delivering a lecture on women and children's disabilities in Dehradun, India, when the alleged discrimination took place. While the airline denies that she ever requested a wheelchair, Ghai was adamant that she made an advance request in Delhi while booking her return flight.

Ghai told, “I was returning from Dehradun. There, I was provided a box to pack my motorized wheelchair and given another wheelchair by the airline to help me board the flight. I informed the staff that I would need a wheelchair while deboarding and also for taking a shuttle to the terminal. We (with her friend) landed around 7.30 p.m. in Delhi and waited for the wheelchair. At 8.15 p.m., we realized that none had been arranged.”

READ MORE: Traveling Adults with Disabilities Generate $17.3 Billion in Annual Spending

Air India released a statement in response to Ghai’s accusations, saying, “She came late to the airport and didn't place a request for a wheelchair while booking her ticket. She made her request after the flight took off, but we arranged a wheelchair for her.”


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