Editors Note: This is just crazy by the airline. It would be beneficial to everyone including the airline to let the autistic child board early and not have problems at the last minute and hold up departure. Also boarding early provides a much calmer and more appropriate environment, suitable for autism. It would seem the airline needs some disability education.
This is to be contrasted with my own personal situation, even when I’m travelling with Jo. Unless it is an international flight when you get given real French Champagne and other nice things when boarding early, I just don’t need the early boarding myself but the airline staff get really insistent and mildly annoyed with us when we decline early boarding as they think all blind people are slow and just get in the way. Sometimes we just give in and do what they want – it depends whether the food and drink in the lounge is better than onboard!
Mumbai: Priority boarding is a privilege that airlines afford to passengers with special needs. The parents of a 14-year-old autistic passenger claimed SpiceJet staff at the Mumbai airport denied their daughter priority boarding and asked her to join the queue which had them waiting till most of the passengers had boarded. The incident occurred while boarding SpiceJet’s Mumbai-Amritsar flight SG 438 on July 4.
“They didn’t let my special daughter board with old people or people on wheelchair on priority, even on showing them her special certificate,” said Gurmeet Singh, the father of the girl on a social media platform.
“They closed the boarding scanner on our side after the senior citizens and wheelchair passengers boarded. When we told them that our daughter is autistic and so should be allowed priority boarding, they refused and asked us to join the queue for regular passengers,” he added.
“They kept us waiting till most passengers had boarded, though we were standing at the front. Then other passengers pressurized them to let us board,” he added.
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A SpiceJet spokesperson refuted the allegations. “When the boarding is done through an aerobridge, we ask passengers with seat numbers between 15 and 30 to board first. The said autistic passenger’s seat number was 21… When boarding for seats 1 to 15 commenced, they reached the gate and asked for privilege boarding, which we couldn’t provide,” the official said. He claimed that her parents didn’t tell the airline staff that she was autistic and neither did they