May 21, 2015 – Born with cerebral palsy and unable to walk, Kenichi Okubo of Hyogo, Japan, was denied boarding his flight by Jetstar and forced to spend the night in the airport. He and his lawyer say he is the victim of discrimination based on his disability and his human rights were violated.
Last summer, Okubo took Jetstar from Fukuoka to Bangkok on a business trip. Two weeks later, he went to the airport, passed through baggage check and security, but was denied boarding the plane at the gate.
At first, he was told it was because he was not flying with a care attendant. However, Okubo has flown on numerous flights, domestic and international, by himself. In fact, he traveled on his own on his flight with Jetstar to Bangkok two weeks prior.
Next he was told there was a problem because of his wheelchair battery. While there have been a few issues with batteries in the past, before traveling, Okubo followed the correct procedures outlined by Jetstar, filed the correct paperwork, and had written permission from Jetstar’s parent company, Qantas.
Despite this, he was refused aboard the plane and spent the night with his luggage in the airport. The following day he returned home without issue on another Jetstar flight.
Okubo says that he “is the victim of discrimination against the disabled” and his human rights were violated.
Jetstar commented the “they are very sorry for this incident2.
We will keep you updated of any further updates in this case.