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Southwest Wouldn’t Accommodate Traveler with Severe Disabilities



Jon Morrow recently wrote a Facebook post that described Southwest Airlines as “discriminating against severely disabled passengers” when they wouldn’t let him travel with a special lift device needed to move him in and out of an airplane seat safely.

Morrow has an extreme medical condition that involves a fused spine, brittle bones and an inability to move from the neck down. He had booked a recent flight with Southwest Airlines and informed the airline of his need for special accommodations.

Morrow owns an Eagle Lift device used in airports across the world like England, Australia, and Canada. In the U.S. the Eagle Lift device isn’t used by airlines, as they see it as an “undue burden,” or at least that’s what Morrow claims Southwest Airlines called it.

The Eagle Lift costs $15,000 and Morrow purchased it as a Christmas gift for himself so that he could travel easier, and even had his caregivers certified on how to use the lift so that he could be transferred safely.

“And then I booked THREE tickets on Southwest and told them I would be bringing the Eagle as well as licensed personnel to use it,” he wrote.

Originally, Southwest said he could bring the device onto the plane, but later they reversed their decision and told Morrow he wouldn’t be able to board with the Eagle Lift. Instead, they told Morrow that all of their employees at every gate are trained to assist with lifting and transferring customers who need it. They offered him a small metal wheelchair and an aisle seat to help with the transition.

This offer didn’t work for Morrow, and neither did the airline’s offer to call in the fire department to transfer him into his seat.

“I also have a letter from my physician stating that it would be EXTREMELY dangerous to transfer me by hand on an airplane. There simply isn’t enough room for everyone to have proper body mechanics,” Morrow explained.

For Morrow, the Eagle Lift makes sense – it’s safe and it’s used in airports across the world. Plus, Southwest doesn’t have to buy one, as Morrow would bring his own.

“Mind you, this is a device that is standard operating procedure for all passengers in wheelchairs outside the US. It’s been used safely on thousands of flights. I’m also providing the Eagle and trained personnel at MY expense,” Morrow pointed out.

Southwest replied to Fox News with the following statement: “In this instance, the Customer was informed that we do not have boarding procedures for the safe use of his personal Eagle Lift device nor do our Employees have training for storage of the device. This final decision was made after reviewing the device’s specifications and the requirements for transporting it and the Customer safely.”

Morrow had to cancel his flight with Southwest Airlines and instead found a seat on a JetBlue flight, who presumably allowed him to use his Eagle Lift device.

“So, here I am, appealing to Facebook. Not only for myself, but for everyone else who needs this device,” Morrow wrote. “People who cannot transfer themselves should not be manhandled by firefighters. They should be able to use a device built and tested for that exact purpose, recognized worldwide for its safety and efficiency.”

“People in wheelchairs should be able to fly. Let’s take this one small step toward making it happen and approve my flight,” he said.

Southwest also told Fox News that they are now “in contact with the manufacturer of this device to learn more about the device’s unique handling and storage requirements.”

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Emirates Announces Firing Employees Amid the Pandemic



Emirates Airline, the last holdout among the Gulf region‘s three major East-West carriers in retaining its workforce announced on May 31, 2020, that it had fired an undisclosed number of employees, due to the near-shutdown of global air travel amid COVID-19.

The other two—Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways—had already scaled back in terms of staffing as the virus spread, virtually eliminating passenger demand and causing international borders to slam shut.

While Emirates has been applauded during the pandemic for continuing to run repatriation flights around the globe, as well as delivering cargo and critical supplies, it has been dramatically affected by the halting of international passenger travel, just like the rest of the world’s airlines.

In a statement, the company said, “We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is…but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”

Without revealing any particulars of the mass firing, Emirates assured that those being axed from its workforce would be treated, “with fairness and respect.”

ABC News reported that to try and balance some of the immense losses the airline continues to suffer, Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, injected an undisclosed amount of equity into its operations back in March.

Although the flag carrier, owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, had already reduced its staff members’ pay during the course of the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, Emirates’ home base, Dubai International Airport—typically the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic—has also been running only a fraction of its normal operations.

Dubai, which has positioned itself as a critical hub for the free movement of people, goods and capital from around the globe (all of which the pandemic has disrupted), now depends heavily upon a resumption of activity at its airport.

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