This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Earlier this month, Hideto Kijima was getting ready to board his Vanilla Air flight departing from the Japanese resort island of Amami. He had no trouble on the outbound flight getting on the plane, but this time would be a different story.

Instead of a normal gateway to board the plane, flights at Amami airport (ASJ) require passengers to climb a set of stairs to get on the aircraft. Vanilla Air staff told Kijima, who uses a wheelchair, that he would only be allowed to board the flight if he could get up the stairs himself. He told staff that his friends could help him up to the plane, but they insisted that safety regulations required him to be able to board himself. One of the staff members even allegedly said that “people who cannot walk cannot fly.”

At that point, Kijima got out of his wheelchair and started crawling up the set of 17 stairs. He eventually dragged himself to the top, but only after the staff tried to stop him.

After learning about the incident, Vanilla Air issued an apology to Kijima, who heads the Japan Accessible Tourism Center. Vanilla airlines, which is a subsidiary of ANA, said it will take new measures to help wheelchair users at Amami airport and to improve the experience for disabled travelers boarding the plane.

“It is discrimination to stop people boarding a plane just because they cannot walk,” Kijima told Japan Today.

According to Japan Today, some airlines do allow staff members to carry passengers aboard aircraft, but Vanilla Air does not due to safety concerns. The New York Times reported today that Vanilla Air ordered an electric wheelchair lift for its planes on Amami after the incident — which went into service on Thursday.

Japan is considered to be behind other Western countries in terms of infrastructure accessibility and legal rights for the disabled. Of course, these incidents aren’t exclusive to Japan; earlier this year a wheelchair-bound man with cerebral palsy was removed from an American Airlines flight.

H/T: Japan Today

Featured image courtesy of lkarasawa via Flickr.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.