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Luton Airport Improves Disabled Facilities Following Threat of Legal Action
We were so pleased to hear that Luton Airport has ‘improved their disabled facilities’ following the threat of legal action from Justin Levene, the paraplegic athlete who was forced to drag himself through the arrivals terminal at Luton Airport last August.
Last August, Justin Levene’s self-propelling wheelchair was left behind on a flight leaving him with no other choice but to physically drag himself through the airport terminal. Although Justin Levene was offered a rigid high-backed wheelchair, this was not suitable for his needs and he worried about the possibility of getting pressure sores as a result of using this wheelchair.
As his story hit worldwide headlines, Luton Airport has come under pressure to drastically improve their disabled facilities. The Airport now has 10 self-propelled wheelchairs which are based permanently at the Airport. Luton Airport now also has a loan replacement system which enables it to lend people equipment (such as wheelchairs) free of charge in addition to organising and funding the returns process if a wheelchair or similar equipment is lost or damaged. A further improvement is where it has notification ahead of time of a requirement for specialised mobility equipment, it now has an arrangement with a local disability resource centre who can assist in sourcing this equipment.
Justin Levene, an international wheelchair athlete, trainer and mentor to disabled athletes was pleased with the outcome explaining he was never looking for money but was trying to get a change in policy.
Although Justin’s story began as a shocking experience at Luton Airport, it has been fundamental in raising awareness of issues around the mobility needs of disabled travellers. Unfortunately this isn’t the only case of a disabled person being left disappointed and let down with their experience on public transport and it’s a shame Justin had to go through this humiliating experience to get his story in the public eye. However it has brought about a vital change in policy that will improve access for disabled people and hopefully encourage other organisations to follow suit.
Read the full story here.