Blind traveller refused plane entry
Published 05/10/2010 | 20:12
A blind American traveller said he was stopped from getting on a flight in Dubai because of his disability - a decision the government-run airline insists was a mistake it regrets.
Zuhair Mahmoud, of Arlington, Virginia, said he ran into problems when he went to check in for a flight on FlyDubai to Amman, Jordan. He was planning a brief stay in the Jordanian capital before heading back to the United States.
"They looked at me and said: 'Well, we can't take you ... You're travelling alone,"' he said.
Mr 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 out.
The airline does not dispute Mr 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 Mr Mahmoud on another flight and offered him a voucher for a free flight to make up for the mishap.
UAE blind traveller