A disabled passenger was turned away from a flight because she was travelling alone.
Shen Chengqing, a 22-year-old wheelchair user, arrived at Hong Kong International Airport for a Hong Kong Airlines flight to Tianjin on Friday 25 January, only to be denied boarding.
She claimed staff told her that she would not be able to take the three-hour flight as she couldn’t walk and was unaccompanied.
“Because of this reason, we refused to let her board the plane alone,” a Hong Kong Airlines employee allegedly told Shen’s friend who had gone with her to the airport.
Shen, who has flown every month for the past six months or so, was surprised and upset by the rule.
“I felt very anxious and angry at the time,” she told the South China Morning Post. “I don’t understand why this could happen in Hong Kong.”
She added: “If there are safety concerns, there should be better facilities to ensure my safety, instead of not allowing me on a plane.”
The airline’s website recommends passengers with disabilities “travel with a personal care attendant” as cabin crew can’t assist passengers in using the toilet, eating or taking medication for safety reasons.
“I do not need help with eating or using the bathroom. All I need is assistance to move my wheelchair,” said Shen.
The airline’s written rejection states she was turned away because she is unable to walk long distances.
Shen had to pay for another one-way ticket for a flight the next day, which cost her more than 2,000 yuan (£225), and had to be accompanied by a friend for the flight.
“Besides the money and delay to my work and other schedules, I also caused trouble for my friends, and worried my family,” she said.
“I thought taking flights from Hong Kong would be reliable. I did not expect this.”
The Independent has contacted Hong Kong Airlines for comment.