Kijima Hideto, plane passenger
Holy sheep dip.
When common sense and human compassion are not allowed to rear its “ugly” head in Japan because people and companies are following rules, we get yet another example of just how stupid the world is.
Kijima Hideto (surname first), 44, is paralyzed from the waist down after a spinal injury from high school rugby put him in a wheelchair.
Adapting well to his situation, Kijima is the head of a not-for-profit organization that works with people with disabilities (man, I hate that word) called Japan Accessible Tourism Centre.
However, after his trip to the admittedly tiny airport on the Japanese resort island of Amami where I assume he had a good time, Kijima suffered what I am sure everyone else not affiliated with Vanilla Air—an affiliation of All Nippon Airways—realized was a humiliating experience.
Kijima was forced to crawl up 17 stairs to board his flight to Osaka because Vanilla Air staff:
- did not have proper facilities to allow for the boarding of physically disabled individuals;
- would NOT allow Kijima’s friends to help carry him up the stairs in his wheelchair;
- would NOT allow Kijima’s friends to physically carry his person up the stairs.
This is how you treat your customers?
No, forget that - this is how you treat a human being?!?!
I get that the budget Vanilla Air airline did not have a hoist to help Kijima board with his dignity intact.
I have no idea if the airport has other airline carriers at this airport to maybe borrow a hoist—how the fug did he disembark at this island airport in the first place? Probably with a little help from his friends.
4) Vanilla Air staff initially tried to STOP Kijima from crawling up the stairs, but relented. If they did mind, they didn’t stop one of Kijima’s friends from pushing him up the stairs from behind.
Vanilla Air staff were at the top of the stairs, however, with his wheelchair and did help him get to his spot on the airplane. But whatever...
Look… we get that safety regulations did not allow for Kijima’s friends to carry him up those airplane steps… I’ve climbed up and down airplane steps at small airports… they are steep and narrow, and yeah, even without helping a friend up the stairs it can be a perilous journey.
Still… if they sign a waiver, that covers the airline’s butt.
Better yet… get a fricking hoist to ensure that everyone can enjoy a flight to their destination.
Or, best yet - don’t be such a d!@k about what are obviously dumb rules… and think for yourself.
“Just following orders, mein herr.”
Remember that line uttered by Nazi’s after WWII during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials? It didn’t wash then, it sure as hell shouldn’t be acceptable now.
It’s frickin’ 2017! How can any business with a Human Resources department NOT have rules regarding safe access for all would-be customers or employees?
You can tell people they can’t physically carry people up in their wheelchair - fine - that’s your right as a “carrier”.
But then you bloody well need to have an alternative way for people to enter and disembark your aircraft! It’s common sense!!!
It’s 2017! How can any company not have created a fail-safe for its passengers?
What if Kajima had slipped while crawling and fell back down? I get why they didn’t want to allow him to crawl up the stairs either… but either have a means to get him up and down the stairs safely (like a cherry picker, if no hoist is available), or help him up the stairs yourselves or via his friends.
If an airline such as Vanilla Air has no problem with allowing its passengers to be humiliated, just what else is the budget-conscious airline not caring about?
I know, I know... passenger safety versus passenger humiliation.
Yes, they did warn him that they lacked the proper facilities to service Kijima properly... but so what? That doesn't give them a free pass.
What can be done in the future? It doesn’t matter that Vanilla Air has apologized. Fug your apology.
It doesn’t even matter that the airline is taking “steps” to improve its service.
You’ve had your chance. You have dishonored yourselves. I'm sure you regret how things turned out, even possibly you regret your treatment of Kijima.
Everyone who hasn’t already booked a flight on Vanilla Air already should boycott using that carrier.
Boycott Vanilla Air.
Show them you actually care about human rights!
Don’t help support any entity that would treat a person in such an inhumane manner.
No one needs to be committing seppuku (ritualistic suicide).
But screw it… yeah... boycott Vanilla Air… let it close its doors in bankruptcy.
No one needs a business around that can’t treat people humanely. Fug’em.
Tell All Nippon Airways (ANA) what you think of them, too... they own Vanilla Air...
Vanilla Air had previously barred passengers from its flights to Amami because of the access point. Kijima was even told before boarding his flight from Osaka, that Vanilla Air did not have the proper means to service him...
Amami airport is the only airport of 14 used by Vanilla Air that does NOT have a hoist... which means they are aware that the hoists ARE NEEDED! Just too cheap or can't be bothered to go out and get another one.
That's why you should boycott Vanilla Air.
Hit'em where it hurts - their wallet.