Rugby player’s son asked to prove disability for Jet2 flight


The family of a 10-year-old boy were asked to prove his disability before he boarded a Jet2 flight from Croatia.

Alex Johnson said she was left humiliated after doing everything she could to prepare the airline for her son’s flight, only to be asked to prove Jack is disabled at the airport gates in Split, Croatia.

She and her husband, former Wigan Warriors player Andy Johnson, set up a charity called Joining Jack, which funds research into a cure for Jack’s condition, duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The airline has since apologised for what it called an “isolated incident”.

Mrs Johnson said she spent a long time explaining her son’s condition and giving details of his disability scooter before they prepared to fly home from their summer holiday.

She said: “I didn’t want us to run into any problems as Jack hates people staring and attention being drawn to him. It’s hard for him being a kid that is different.

“When we arrived at Split airport and attempted to check in, we were told by a clearly stressed check-in desk operative that they had no records of Jack, his disability or his requirements.

“The operative then informed us that two days’ notice is required to be able to put a motorised wheelchair/scooter on the aircraft and that we might not be able to fly.

“By this time the packed departures area was getting busier and people were getting frustrated with waiting. We felt as though we were a huge burden.”

She said she was then asked if she had proof her son was disabled.

The Johnson have set up a charity to fund research. Pic: Facebook/Joining Jack
Image: The Johnsons have set up a charity to fund research. Pic: Facebook/Joining Jack

In a blog post, she continued: “I didn’t know whether to be sarcastic and say no he loves to ride a disability scooter and pretends to be disabled for fun, or to cry and shout he has a bloody terminal muscle-wasting condition.

“The only reason I kept my cool was that I could see the embarrassment and anxiety rising in Jack. The indignity of the situation was awful.”

Mrs Johnson said she had to explain the full extent of Jack’s condition in front of him, before showing the operative his blue badge, adding her son “wanted the ground to eat him up”.

The family eventually found out Jet2 had not sent through the details.

The mother-of-two said she had then dealt with a “complete meltdown” from her son the next day, when he told his cousins he hated them, and “wants to die”.

She blamed the outburst on the treatment of the previous day.

A spokesperson for Jet 2 said: “We are extremely sorry to hear of this experience, and we appreciate that it has been very distressing for Jack and his family.

“We have been in contact to unreservedly apologise for the upset caused, and we would like to reassure Jack, his family, and all our customers, that this is not our normal standard of service.

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“Although this is an isolated incident, we have learnt a number of lessons and we are urgently reviewing all our procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Mrs Johnson said the family had been offered £300 off the next holiday booked with Jet2, and offered a tour of the aiport for Jack to show them where they are going wrong.

From – SkyNews


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