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Emirates in passenger ill-treatment storm

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA A UNITED KINGDOM (UK)-based Zimbabwean woman living with disability has taken Asian airline, Emirates, head-on over her alleged ill-treatment by the cabin crew on her flight to Harare two years ago. Eretina Trueman told NewsDay Weekender that she had a nasty experience when she boarded an Emirates flight from Birmingham to Zimbabwe in 2018 with the cabin crew refusing to strap her onto the aisle chair reserved for people with disabilities. For the past two years, she has been engaging the airline seeking justice, but with little joy. “I was travelling alone from Birmingham in the UK to Zimbabwe using Emirates flight,” Trueman said. “The cabin crew did not strap me on to the little aisle chair reserved for me. They ignored the protocols that were supposed to be followed when dealing with individuals with limited mobility.” Trueman claimed that because she was not strapped, she fell off the aisle chair while in Dubai and sustained back injuries. “I guess they didn’t bother because I am black and also disabled,” Trueman added. “They (airline) left one crew member assisting me, which was impossible and so, I slipped and fell on the aisle floor. I sustained back injuries. Since then, I experience excruciating pain on my back.” Trueman said her lawyers tried to engage Emirates executives, but the airline has not been co-operating, insisting they strapped her and thus denying responsibility for the accident. NewsDay Weekender is in possession of several e-mail exchanges between Trueman and the Emirates officials. “After the fall, I was stuck in Zimbabwe from January until November 2018,” she said. “Emirates refused to take me back to the UK saying I should have someone to accompany me. I am now back in the UK, but bed-ridden. I am right now talking to you from my bed. I can only manage to sit in my wheelchair for two to three hours, maximum,” Trueman said. Emirates spokesperson Gillian Langmead declined to comment saying the matter was sub judice. “This matter is currently with the UK courts, therefore Emirates is unable to comment further,” Langmead said.

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