Blind man barred from Dubai flight

2010-10-05 20:02

Dubai - A blind American traveller says he was stopped from getting on a flight in Dubai on Tuesday because of his disability - a decision the government-run airline insists was a mistake it regrets.

Zuhair Mahmoud, of Arlington, Virginia, told The Associated Press he ran into problems when he went to check in for a 10:10 flight on FlyDubai to Amman. He was planning a brief stay in the Jordanian capital before heading back to the US.

"They looked at me and said: 'Well, we can't take you. (...) You're travelling alone,"' he recalled.

Mahmoud protested and asked employees to check with their superiors. He said he was told that there was nothing they could do because it was airline policy not to allow a blind traveller onboard unaccompanied.

"I was mad. (...) I couldn't believe it," the 37-year-old information technology specialist said. "I tried to reason with them, but I just got a single, cold answer."

He left the airport and went to stay at a brother's house in Dubai until he could catch another flight.

Compensation

The airline doesn't dispute Mahmoud's account.

Its chief executive apologised for the incident and said the carrier does not discriminate against blind passengers or others with special needs.

FlyDubai also promised to rebook Mahmoud on another flight that's convenient for him and offered him a voucher for a free flight to make up for the mishap.

"This morning's events were extremely unfortunate and should not have happened. We will conduct a full investigation to find out what went wrong in this situation and take all means necessary to ensure it does not happen again," FlyDubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith said in an email to the AP.

The discount carrier has grown quickly since it was launched by the Gulf city-state's government in June last year. It focuses on low-cost short-haul flights throughout the Middle East.

Al-Ghaith is a former executive at Dubai's flagship airline Emirates. The two carriers operate as separate airlines, though both are owned by the emirate of Dubai and are chaired by an uncle of the sheikhdom's ruler.

Mahmoud said he is keeping his options open, including possible legal action.

He wants the airline and UAE government regulators to take steps to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to others.

"I'm probably not going to come back to Dubai ever unless I'm assured these sorts of things aren't going to happen anymore," he said.

"The real test is how it's handled and how it's reacted to. Mistakes happen all the time. It's how you deal with them that defines who you are."

- AP
Read more on:    dubai  |  air travel
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

FARMS FOR SALE IN Paarl

Farms R 12 000 000

FARMS FOR SALE IN Paarl

Farms R 39 900 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to be too fixed on a set way of doing things today. You may get challenged and the best approach is to keep an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.