Friday, July 18, 2008

...AIRLINE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PWDs...

About 2 weeks ago, my best friends and I decided to take an out of town trip. I think this the the first time ever that we do this. First time that seven of us are complete. The first thing that came to mind was ticket purchasing. I, a loyal PAL Mabuhay Miles passenger opted to use my miles. However, using miles does not include fuel charges and taxes, rendering sky rocketing total costs, which I do no have a budget for. CHEAP FARES that get you to your choice of destination is what I am looking for. Since my 6 other girl friends booked themselves on Asian Spirit, I might as well follow them.

My mother is a travel agent and she suggested that I go directly to Asian Spirit with the booking she made for me and buy my tickets from them. I had a booking and reference number already. These promo fares have their own catchy quirks as we know and have to purchase tickets way ahead of time. Fearing that I may lose my booking, since flights were selling like hotcakes, I headed straight to the nearest Asian Spirit ticketing office.
I presented my booking reference and other necessary information to the sales agent staff. Her name was Sarah. As I was reaching into my bag for my wallet, all ready and excited to pay, I was told that I cannot purchase my ticket because I am disabled. I would have to see my doctor and have him/her fill up forms.

I was immediately taken aback from disbelief. Not satisfied with the sales agent's reply, I immediately said, "Never in my 9 years of being disabled, have I ever been giving this kind of treatment by any airline!" I was handed 2 forms. One was for my being INCAPACITATED and the other was to be filled up by my doctor. Then I said "What if I purchase my tickets on line? Would you have known that I am disabled?" or "What if I asked my driver or my mom's office to purchase my ticket, would you have known my condition?". The staff could not answer and simply said that I still wouldn't have been allowed the board the plane. Still in awe, I called up my mother and told her the situation at hand. My mother talked to the supervisor or head, and explained to her that I am perfectly capable of handling myself. I could hear my mother's voice on the other end of the receiver loud and clear, while the supervisor rolling her eyes up, clearly irritated.

Because I was desperate to purchase my tickets, I said that I will comply with their rules and regulations and come back in a week with my doctors signed form. I also mentioned that I better not lose my booking precisely why I opted to get the tickets myself. They assured that I will not and gave me up to August 13, 2008. My flight is on August 16.

Today, July 18, I pick up the doctor's duly filled form with all the medical information needed and I was given the prognosis for the trip as EXCELLENT. I immediately rushed to the ticketing office and ready to purchase my tickets. Then, I was told that I still cannot purchase my tickets because the in flight surgeon has to see me. I really blew my top off. Why didn't they mention this early on? I said that this is too much and definitely discriminatory against PWDs. I mentioned that they will pay for my gasoline if they make me come back. I said that I have been traveling here and abroad for the past 9 years and not once was I given this type of treatment. I was just in Cebu and Bohol last May, everything went smoothly. In fact, I am even pampered on other airlines. I said that I am an international equestrian rider for the disabled and have competed in various events through the years abroad, having to take 12 to 18 hour direct flights, while the flight I want to purchase is less than an hour.

My brain operation was 9 years ago and clearly I have managed to rise above my disability. I submitted the forms they wanted, what else do they want? Also, two of my friends who will be on the same flight were asked to present the birth certificates of their daughters and a parental (paternal) consent since it will only be the mothers taking this trip. Knowing this, I already brought the birth certificate of my son just in case they ask me later on. I then indicated that I am a single mother and the father of my son does not live in the country, just so they know.

This has become harassment already. I hope the necessary actions will be taken regarding this manner. This is definitely too much. I would want to know if this has ever happened to our fellow PWDs, if so, serious actions must be taken against Asian Spirit and those involved must be reprimanded.

How ironic that this happened on the week of the
National Disability Prevention & Awareness Week/Month.

CONTACT INFORMATION of ASIAN SPIRIT MAKATI OFFICE
Asian Spirit Makati Ticketing Office

G4 BSA Towers, 108 Legaspi St.Legaspi Village, 1229
Makati City, PhilippinesTel: (632) 888-2003Fax: (632) 888-2002
Sarah(Sales Agent/Ticketing personnel and 2 others) and Gay (Supervisor) - they refuse to me their full names
Dr. Joaquin Javier (Flight Surgeon of Asian Spirit
)


*A formal letter was forwarded to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) through the kindness of Makati PWD Federation President Arch. Jaime Silva.
** Forwarded to the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD)

2 comments:

nes said...

grbeh kumukulo dugo ko sa incident you just shared ha. really unbelivable! maybe next they will discriminate fat/obese people naman. and that supervisor's reaction while talking to your mom--well that fag ought to be shot hehe...what happened with the letter to DOTC and CAB? i do hope they do something constructive about it

blissful COW said...

Hello. Still unsettled by the fact that I still didnt have my tickets, I booked another flight on the same airline simply because I am on a tight budget. Guess what?! The next day, I went to the domestic airport office of Asian Pacific and got my tickets in less than 15 mins. No qualms no hassles. In fact, to be fair with Asian Spirit, they staff of the domestic airport branch were very pleasant and helpful. I have the back up of DOTC, CAB, and DSWD. Our President, Arch. Silva was upset too... who wouldn't be? Thanks!!!