Easyjet bars boy from flying because his wheelchair too heavy

Ruth Doherty

A disabled 12-year-old boy could have been robbed of his last holiday abroad after Easyjet barred him from a flight over health and safety fears.

Declan Spencer suffers from a muscle-wasting disease and has been told by doctors that his next operation could leave him unable to fly.

So, his mother Alexandra booked her family on a holiday to Paphos, Cyprus.

It was only when she called the low-cost airline to make special arrangements for boarding the plane that she was told her son would not be able to travel.

They deemed his 200lb electric wheelchair too heavy for baggage handlers to move – despite the fact other airlines had managed it in the past.

Mrs Spencer, 29, from Leicester, told the Daily Mail: 'I simply cannot believe that Easyjet is getting away with having a ludicrous, discriminatory policy like this.

'They are refusing to carry Declan's wheelchair on health and safety grounds to protect their staff. But this seems hollow when you consider every other airline is prepared to accommodate us.'

Declan has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which leaves him unable to walk or stand.

He is due to have spinal surgery this year which will leave him unable to move from his wheelchair to a plane seat in order to fly.

Mrs Spencer is now seeking legal advice on whether the airline's policy conflicts with EU legislation allowing passengers to travel with up to two pieces of medical equipment without weight restriction.

Robert Meadowcroft, of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said: 'The health and safety standards expected of carriers do not vary.

'It is therefore very difficult to see how staff safety can be a basis for refusing to put in place a workable policy for disabled travellers.'

Easyjet said it was 'extremely saddened' at being unable to help, but insisted it was bound by airport health and safety rules.

'We regularly carry powered wheelchairs, provided they can be collapsed into separate parts of less than 60kg (130lb) each,' it said.

The airline said it would refund the cost of flights and Mrs Spencer has now booked flights with a different carrier.

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