Aviation authorities in Vietnam on Friday imposed fines on two employees of low-cost carrier Vietjet Air for refusing service to a disabled passenger.
According to a statement released Friday by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, Le Vu Nhiem and Le Nguyen Minh Tuyet violated a rule that requires transport companies to give priority and timely support to disabled passengers. They have been fined VND 5 million (around US$250) each.
The Vietnamese carrier on Thursday said it was also considering disciplinary measures against Nhiem and Tuyet.
The passenger, Nguyen Thi Van, said she had to wait at Da Nang Airport for six hours before being able to fly with another airline.
Van told local media that she earlier bought a round trip ticket from Vietjet Air and informed the ticket office that she would be travelling in a wheelchair.
She said that her Wednesday flight from Hanoi to Da Nang was fine, but while trying to check in for the return flight back to Hanoi on Thursday afternoon, she was rejected because she had not booked assistance in advance.
Van told the two Vietjet Air employees that she did not have any problem with her earlier flight from Hanoi, and that nobody told her to book for assistance.
The two officers then decided to refund the ticket, after explaining that their colleagues in Hanoi had broken the rules but they could not.
Van said she had to wait for six hours, until 10 p.m., to catch a Vietnam Airlines flight to the capital city.
“I had no difficulties checking in with Vietnam Airlines flight,” said Van.
“I have travelled to many countries and have been assisted in transport services... And it was only in my homeland that I was rejected."
A representative of Vietjet Air has apologized to Van.
The carrier, however, explained that its plane in Da Nang had to park far away from the departure gate and passengers had to travel on a bus to get to the plane and then had to climb up a set of stairs to board.
In Hanoi, there was a jet bridge to assist passengers in wheelchairs.
“The officers in Da Nang decided not to transport Van due to safety reasons,” said the spokesperson.