Paralympian Sophia Warner Asked By EasyJet To Prove She Is Disabled
A Paralympic athlete has called out EasyJet after the budget airline asked her to prove that she was disabled.
Sophia Warner, a runner who medalled at the World Para Athletics Championships in New Zealand in 2011 and competed at the Paralympics in London in 2012, suffers from cerebral palsy and was challenged by airline staff when attempting to board a flight.
The athlete later took to Twitter to express her disgust at the manner in which she was treated by the airline.
I've not complained on twitter before. The order to publicly prove my disability incident by @easyJet yesterday was beyond devastating.:sleepy:- Sophia Warner (@SprintingSophia) March 27, 2018
I was told 'you look completely normal. Why do you need help' I cried all the way home. I don't even know where to begin with a complaint. :sleepy:- Sophia Warner (@SprintingSophia) March 27, 2018
Warner, 43, was immediately backed up by other social media users, who told of their mistreatment at the hands of airport staff.
One wrote: "They made me walk all the way out of the plane before it took off so I could explain how to take my wheelchair to the hold to yet more hopeless baggage handlers. The plane was delayed and the other passengers blamed me even though it was easyJet's fault for not boarding me first!"
Another added: "I know your pain. I have had exactly the same experience with EJ. I was seriously injured on a flight due to poorly trained cabin crew but EJ have denied everything & changed what happened in the legal action. It's bad enough being unfairly treated but afterwards it's awful."
EasyJet themselves responded by saying: "I'm really sorry to hear this Sophia. Thomas from our executive support team has tried to contact you today. He is going to send you an email which has his contact details. If you can give me a suitable time for him to call back, I will pass this on for you. Thanks, Margaret."
They later released a full statement that read: "We're sorry to hear of Ms Warner's experience. We are in contact with her to understand what happened. The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is easyJet's highest priority."
Ms Warner has been an athlete since the age of 19, when she took up running on the advice of friends. She picked up a silver and a bronze in sprinting events at the IPA Athletics World Championship in 2011, before landing her current position as commercial director of UK Athletics.
She is also a Vice-President of The Children's Trust.
Featured Image Credit: PA