Flight into pain and despair
JETSTAR flight 441 from the Gold Coast to Melbourne turned into a nightmare for 26-year-old Lismore man Jamie Maxted.
Mr Maxted earlier this year was on his way to see a specialist to plan the amputation of his leg, which, despite two operations, had not healed after a motorbike accident in 2005.
The ordeal began when he was told he would not be sitting with his mother, Jennifer Joy, and step-father in row one during the flight.
Instead, he would be forced to sit with his carer in row three.
Row one was the location of the emergency exits, and people classified as disabled were not allowed to sit there.
When the plane arrived in Melbourne Mr Maxted said a wheelchair waiting for him outside.
However, when the steward saw Mr Maxted was using crutches he was refused use of the wheelchair because, he was told, he could walk.
He said that he was able to use crutches for very limited movement.
“Anything over two metres was extremely painful and stressful for me.”
Mr Maxted was forced to enter the terminal on crutches, by which time he was in intense pain and highly distressed.
“It was extremely humiliating,” Mr Maxted said.
“I was pushed into a spot where I was punching myself in the head.”
In order to calm him down, his carer had to administer Valium.
Mr Maxted said the problems could have been avoided had Jetstar staff shown a little compassion and foresight.
Mrs Joy wrote two letters to Jetstar, without reply.
On Friday Jetstar said it would be making a full apology to Mr Maxted and was reviewing its procedures to ensure nothing like this happened again.
Mr Maxted decided to go public after paralympian Kurt Fearnley last week was forced to crawl through Brisbane Airport after Jetstar refused to let him take his wheelchair on board the flight.
The airline offered him one of their chairs, but he says he could not move it properly.
Fearnley was returning home after crawling the Kokoda Trail.