Make air travel accessible

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I'm a wheelchair bound passenger and have been so for the last 25 years. Air travel is the only mode of transport I can use as the wheelchair cannot be used in trains or buses. I hate being physically hauled around unless absolutely essential.

I've availed the services of an AMBULIFT in Delhi and Chennai very early on to board aircrafts. Sadly, they are not being used now. Indigo used ramps but not in all flights. Even then, one is lifted on and off buses. World over, wheelchair bound passengers are transported in an AMBULIFT from the departure gate if the building to the aircraft floor. This is the international norm.

In India, I've been hauled up the stairs by 4 loaders like a piece of baggage. I've had instances where a person's hand slipped when we were half way through. Cannot describe the feeling and fright. If I know right, the DGCA prescribes and mandates this. The problem is in enforcing this.

One, you know what! Every major airport has ambulifts. The airline has to pay an usage fee when it uses that facility. Should cost approx Rs.600 per passenger used. Airlines want to skimp on this. If this is spread over all passengers, it will not amount to more than Rs.10 per ticket.

Using an AMBULIFT is primarily a safety measure and next one that lends dignity. There is no point in our airports being swanky if airlines cut corners in saving small sums of money in servicing those with appropriate facilities. This also violates the intent and letter of the Rights of People with Disability Act 2016.

I would like to petition the DGCA to make usage of AMBULIFT mandatory in practice by putting in place proper measures and stiff penalties.