Jetstar Bans Disabled Child From Boarding With Stroller

Posted Jul 6th 2011 08:30 AMUpdated Jul 6th 2011 10:49 AM

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Jetstar Bans Disabled Child From Boarding With Stroller

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Australian discount airline Jetstar is taking heat for not allowing a child with Down syndrome to board a plane with his stroller.

Two-year-old Theo Scott, who has has Down syndrome and suffers from a rare condition known as non-neurogenic neurogenic bladder, was traveling with his family Friday from Wellington to Auckland, New Zealand, The Dominion Post reports.

They had only carry-on baggage, as their excursion was a short one. This included an approximately 18 pound stroller that Trudi Scott, Theo's mother, said folded down to the size of a large umbrella. At the gate, the family was told the stroller could not be carried on because there was no room and it would have to be checked.

However, once on board, the family says they saw a flight attendant place a large bag containing a musical instrument under one of the plane's back seats. To add insult to injury, the Scotts' stroller wound up being damaged during the flight.

According to the paper, Jetstar has a policy on its A320 aircraft to not allow strollers in the cabin because of the number of people who arrived with them. Musical instruments can be accommodated by strapping them into extra seats, if these are purchased by a passenger.

On the family's return flight, Theo's stroller was again placed in the hold, despite the cabin being only half-full.

"It's almost like you're having to justify your son's disability to them," Scott told The Dominion Post. She added that she believed staff had treated her family terribly and seemed to have no sympathy.

A spokeswoman for Jetstar told the paper that the airline "sincerely apologized" to the Scott family. Jetstar sent them four $50 vouchers and will also cover the cost to repair or replace the stroller.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News