British Airways and the London City Airport are being sued by Athena Stevens, a disabled playwright and actor. She has claimed that her £25,000 (€31,578,$35,956) wheelchair was "completely trashed" while she was due to fly from London to Glasgow in October 2015.
She said the damaged wheelchair was irreparable and was making her daily living more difficult. Additionally, she claimed that this had led to the disruption of her business, which includes making online documentaries and interviews with the help of her five employees. "I am acting, but that doesn't mean I am not inhibited. Not having my chair for rehearsals, getting to and from the theatre etc is a nightmare. I have had to spend £50 on a single taxi ride home," Stevens said.
Stevens claimed that the absence of her wheelchair had cost her £70,000 till date as she has had to hire more people to help her with her daily life. She is also said to be renting an electric chair since January. "I'm paying about £200 a week for a wheelchair that can't clear the threshold of my flat unless I get out and push it," she said.
38 Degrees, an independent British non-profit campaign group, listed her incident on its website. It reads: "It's important to show that even giant companies need to have a conscience. British Airways has offered nowhere near enough compensation. It's costing Athena around £1500 a week in lost earnings and alternative care and transport costs - and it's been over a hundred days since her wheelchair was broken being loaded onto a BA flight at London City Airport. I don't know what their annual profit is, but they can well afford to make a humane gesture and replace her much needed wheelchair." So far, Stevens has garnered support from more than 52,000 people on the website.
British Airways said: "More than 426,000 people with reduced mobility travelled with us last year and we take their needs extremely seriously. Along with London City airport, we investigated Ms Stevens' concerns thoroughly and we continue to try to seek a solution with her and her legal representatives."
London City Airport said: "The airport is working with the passenger and British Airways to resolve this matter. The situation is being dealt with by lawyers and we are therefore unable to provide further comment."