Paraplegic man drags himself across airport floor after wheelchair left on flight

Paraplegic man drags himself across airport floor after wheelchair left on flight
Photo credit: Justin Levene

A paraplegic man who dragged himself across an airport floor after his wheelchair was left on a flight is now suing the airport.

Justin Levene was filmed dragging himself across London's Luton Airport, while other passengers walk past obliviously, after his custom-made, self-propelling wheelchair had been left behind on a flight.

Mr Levene, an international wheelchair athlete, was offered by the airport to have staff push him through the terminal on a high-backed wheelchair. But he reportedly called that degrading, according to the BBC.

After asking to be transported in a motorised buggy, he was told the airport didn't have one, which he said only left him one option - to drag himself across the floor.

Mr Levene told the BBC that the August 2017 experience was saddening, and without his wheelchair he felt he had no independence.

"And to be in one of the chairs they were offering would make me feel humiliated and degraded… They insisted in trying to strap me down in it… I wouldn't have been able to adjust myself, and would have been at risk of getting a pressure sore," he said.

He is now suing Luton Airport, and said its staff had not been given adequate disability equality and awareness training.

"Every single airport I've been to, no matter where it is, no matter how small the airport may have been, there has always been some form of equipment, whether it has been a self-propelled wheelchair or a buggy," he said

But the airport said it was satisfied with its response and the offers it made the man.

Mr Levene became disabled when he herniated a disc when he coughed at the age of 20. The operation to fix the problem went wrong, leaving him paralysed below the waist.


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