Disabled man left in tears after 'disgusting' experience on Qantas flight


A disabled man has been left in tears trying to board a Qantas flight in his wheelchair.

Shane Hryhorec was boarding a flight from Melbourne to Bali earlier this week.

He wrote on Facebook that he wasn’t allowed to board the Boeing 737 “because they won’t allow me to stow my wheelchair on board”.

Mr Hryhorec told news.com he was told his wheelchair could come on the flight and he intended on storing it in the overhead luggage compartment.

Shane Hryhorec claims he was kicked off a Qantas flight when he wasn’t allowed to put his wheelchair in the overhead luggage compartment on a flight from Melbourne to Bali. Source: Facebook/ Shane Hryhorec

But when he began boarding, he claims he was told he would have to store it in the hold.

A wheelchair can be taken on board larger Airbus 380 and Boeing 787 flights, but because 737s are smaller they need to be stored in the hold.

“If my chair can’t come on board, then I won’t fly,” Mr Hryhorec told Mail Online.

After being told he couldn’t put his wheelchair into the overhead locker, he claims he was taken off the flight and met by two Australian Federal Police officers.

Mr Hryhorec said the AFP officers were perplexed and didn’t believe the incident was a police matter, but the ordeal left him in tears.



“I got in the car and cried. I was so upset. Sadly, this is not uncommon for people with disabilities,” Mr Hryhorec told news.com.

“I just really wonder when things like this will stop happening to us.”

He added the chair he hoped to take on his trip is specifically designed to fit in the overheard compartment and he was worried about it being damaged in lower storage.

“It’s just disgusting to be treated like that from Australia’s most prestigious airline,” he told Mail Online.

A Qantas spokesperson told Yahoo7 in a statement that the incident was caused by a mistake and offered an apology.

Mr Hryhorec after arriving in Bali on Thursday. Source: Twitter/ Shane Hryhorec

“One of our customers boarded our Boeing 737 aircraft intending to store their wheelchair in the overhead compartment when they are not able to be stored in the cabin,” the statement reads.

“We apologise.”

Mr Hryhorec has since been rebooked on another Qantas flight.

He tweeted about his experience, leading to an outpouring of support, including from gold medal Paralympian Kurt Fearnley.

“That sucks mate,” Fearnley tweeted.

“The inconsistent and inflexible approach to treating people in wheelchairs as a consumer is a heart breaker.”

Mr Hryhorec later tweeted he arrived in Bali on Thursday and Qantas brought his wheelchair to the door for him.