Updates @ 3 pm 7-1-2014: A disabled person called yours truly to publish the actual cost for using the wheelchair per trip so that the Government and the Ministry of Transport will be made aware of how AirAsia treated its disabled passengers. He was hoping that the Government will put a stop to this high charges as a form of indirectly discriminating against disabled person from travelling on AirAsia flights.
It cost a disabled person RM120 for one way and RM240 return trip for using the wheelchair service from AirAsia. It is to be noted that wheelchair service from check-in to the aircraft is provided by all airlines. Thank you MAS for providing free wheelchair service to its disabled passengers. Syabas MAS!
It was most shocking to learn that AirAsia is charging disabled person RM60 if he or she needs to use the wheelchair. Such astronomical charges amounted to indirect discrimination against the disabled person. It was reported in Sarawak Tribune. Please see below for the said report . The said full report is reproduced below.
Even the previous charges of RM12 shouldn’t be allowed by the Ministry of Transport as all airlines using Malaysian airports must be made to be disabled friendly. It is hoped that the Ministry of Transport should immediately direct that AirAsia to stop charging disabled, elderly, incapacitated and pregnant persons for the use of wheelchair.
Prior to 2007, AirAsia had a history to having to carry a wheelchair bound person up the stairs to the aircraft which has posed danger to the disabled. The disabled person protested in big numbers and caught the attention of the government.
On 16-7-2007 even the then Minister of Transport, Datuk Chan Kong Choy, who is a closed friend of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and friendly to AirAsia, was upset with AirAsia on the issue of the handling disabled persons, in HERE.
In April 2008 Tony Fernandes had this to say “It is great to finally see that our disabled friends are able to fly with us more comfortably today with the assistance of the ambulifts and aisle wheelchairs, in HERE.
Thereafter, AirAsia appeared to be disabled friendly. As usual another publicity stunt by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to pacify the disabled persons. He was seen visiting a group of disabled persons HERE.
In December 2011, the AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, who has been a vocal opponent of the use of aerobridges, said that “his planes will not be using the aerobridges even if they were built at KLIA2. He claimed it was a waste of money as customers did not want them”, in HERE.
There were a lot of pressures on MAHB on this matter, HERE.
If AirAsia is so deadly against aerobridges at airport due to cost and not in accordance with its “business model”, then it and AirAsia X shouldn’t be using aerobidges in airports in other countries like Thailand, China, Japan, Australia and etc. Aerobridges is a basic convenience for all passengers and airport security. Yours truly is glad that Tan Sri Bashir and others in MAHB did not succumb to the pressures and publicities generated by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
Yours truly hopes that BK Sidhu of the Business Star would pick up the story that AirAsia is charging the disabled RM60 for using the wheelchair. Lets see whether such adverse story will appear in the Star.
The Sarawak Tribune’s report:
Last week, my family, including my two in-laws who are both in their 80s, went to Kota KInabalu, Sabah for a visit. Upon arrival at the Kuching International Airport (KIA), I enquired on the use of wheelchairs for my in-laws.
Can you imagine the surprise that I got? Each of them were charged RM60 per wheelchair so they have to pay RM240 for a two-way use of the wheelchairs that at KIA/Terminal 2 Airport, Kota Kinablau/KIA!
It was only last year that they paid RM12 each for a similar two-way use of the wheelchair from KIA/LCCT Sepang/ KIA. In a respect of all senior citizens who have to use wheelchairs, I sincerely hope that Air Asia would review and reduce the high price of using the wheelchair service at all airports in the country.
Please be aware that those who need the wheelchairs are those who are old, frail and feeble and walk at a slow pace, using walking sticks like my two in-laws and the sick. Only those with OKU certificate are exempted from the fee. It is certainly not for fun, so charging RM120 each for the use of the wheelchair for a return trip is really a burden to them (and to all senior citizens) who do not earn anymore income.
In the case of my in-laws who are feeble and walked at a slow pace, they really need the aid of the wheelchair to help them to move faster to the departure hall and when boarding the aircraft so as not to obstruct those walking behind them.
My mother-in-law also underwent a total knee replacement surgery five years ago.
And not only that, I was also asked to help push one of them all the way to the departure hall at both airports.
When queried further, the counter staff said the price was increased recently and the wheelchair belonged to Air Asia and not Malaysia Airlines (MAS), so why the need to charge such a high rate.
In Kuching, the price of a wheelchair is between RM300 and RM450 which makes Air Asia getting good profit from those senior citizens and others who really need to use the wheelchairs.
Please, Air Asia, do spare a thought for the senior citizens.
A concerned citizen “
It is hoped that the disabled persons affected by the high charges that was arbitrarily imposed upon them should lodge a complaint to Ministry of Transport and Damai Disabled Person Association Malaysia.