Subject: GOODBYE TO AIR TRAVEL FOR PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS?
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 10:33:35 +0800
From: Erik Leipoldt <eleipoldt@UPNAWAY.COM>
Reply-To: Erik Leipoldt <eleipoldt@UPNAWAY.COM>
Many abuses start from small beginnings. Martin Luther King Jr said that
" men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other
because they don't know each other. They don't know each other because they
cannot communicate with each other. They cannot communicate with each other
because they're separated from each other." (Martin Luther King)
Please see below my media statement about my complaint against Malaysian
Airlines (MAS) under the Australian Equal Opportunity Act/Disability
Discrimination Act. Please read it. If you agree with me that this is a
matter of wide public interest and especially to many international
travellers who have disabilities, I ask you to take a simple step that may
take you 5 minutes. A draft letter for your use, if you wish to use it, is
also shown below:
1) Please send an email TODAY to Attention of Mr Roslan Ismail, email:
VILMA@MALAYSIA-AIRLINES.COM and to the MAS lawyers Jackson and McDonald,
Attention of Maria Saraceni, email: email@example.com ,citing "Erik
Leipoldt vs Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS)" :
a.. Please express your concern about this situation in any terms you
like, or use the draft letter, also attached, and ask for MAS to reconsider
and become instead the most outstanding airline in assisting travellers with
b.. Ask for an urgent MAS response to you.
c.. If you are a disability organisation you may wish to offer your
consultancy to to assist MAS.
d.. If you have a website you may wish to give this issue further
e.. If this matter is not conciliated and I am forced to take the next
steps, that is taking MAS to court, any offers of financial support, no
matter what size, would be welcome.
The aim of course is to demonstrate to MAS that their course of action has a
wide social impact, is being watched and may have an impact on its business.
The more emails of concern they receive, the better.
a.. PLEASE SEND ME A COPY OF ANY EMAIL THAT YOU MAY SEND TO JACKSON AND
MCDONALD AND REPLIES YOU MAY RECEIVE.
Of course I hope the matter will be settled on the 20th of October and we
may all fly!
Thanks for your help. I will keep you informed.
I would be pleased to answer your questions.
Regards and thank you
GOODBYE TO AIR TRAVEL FOR PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS?
18 October 2005 Perth, Western Australia
Dutch-born Australian Dr Erik Leipoldt alleges that he has been stopped from
flying with Malaysian Airways. He has used a wheelchair for 28 years, ever
since he broke his neck in 1978 and acquired quadriplegia. He is known
nationally and internationally as a disability advocate and author.
He has used air travel successfully for many years. That is, until July this
year, when he booked seats with Malaysian Airways (MAS) for himself and his
family to fly to the Netherlands for family reasons. The last time he flew
with MAS was five years ago on this same route, when Dr Leipoldt was pleased
with a great MAS service. Their service then included being physically
lifted from his wheelchair to aircraft wheelchair and aircraft seat and vice
This time however he was told that MAS would not physically lift him.
Initially, reasons given were unclear but eventually he was told that MAS
was unable to provide the manpower nor the equipment to ensure his safety
and well being during his flights and transit time. MAS have also invoked
cost-prohibitiveness and loss of competitiveness in the airline industry
through offering services such as Dr Leipoldt requires.
Dr Leipoldt has taken this matter to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission of Australia for conciliation. "I feel that I have been
discriminated against by Malaysian Airways," he said. "I have been stopped
from flying with them for reasons that don't wash with me. Other airlines
have accepted responsibility for carrying passengers with disabilities for a
long time. They have the training and equipment in place to do this. So I do
not understand why all of a sudden MAS cannot do this any longer."
Dr Leipoldt pointed out that his case was a matter of public interest, going
beyond his individual complaint. "International disability organisations
share an interest in this case. How many other airlines will stop the many
international passengers such as myself from travelling if MAS is allowed to
maintain its position?" he asked. He emphasised that disability is not a
marginal issue: "All of us would be affected if airlines would no longer
lift our frail grand parents out of their wheelchairs, or any of our
disabled family members. Many of us face mobility problems at one time in
our lives. Transport is not just about profit and cost-cutting. It is about
an essential service for people who want to get somewhere. Last time I flew
with MAS they seemed to be exponents of such good service. What's happened?"
Dr Leipoldt hopes that the issue will be resolved at the HREOC conciliation
meeting on 20th of October 2005 in Perth, Western Australia: "in such a way
that MAS is restored to its status as an airline with great service to
anyone and that all people with disabilities might fly", he said.
contact details: Dr Erik Leipoldt PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Roslan Ismael
Attention Maria Saraceni
Jackson and McDonald, Lawyers
GPO Box M971 Perth
Western Australia 6843
DX 140 Perth
RE: "Erik Leipoldt vs Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS)"
Dear Mr Ismael,
I write to you to express my/our/my organisation's concern about the above
cited case before the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of
I am/ we are . [explain a little about your interest in this matter].
I/we are watching the outcome of the conciliation meeting with great
interest and urge MAS to adopt a 21st century approach to assisting its
passengers with disabilities. That is, instead of restricting opportunities
to air travel I/we ask that MAS reconsider and instead become the most
outstanding airline that welcomes all passengers.
Accordingly I/we request that MAS urgently do institute policies and
practices that allow people with disabilities, including those who use
wheelchairs, and need to be physically lifted, to fly with MAS.
I/we would be willing to consider offering our advice and consultancy on how
MAS could best go about this.
I kindly request a written response from MAS.