Monday, August 12, 2013

Deaf-blind priest not allowed on flight

Cyril Axelrod
An airline mistreated a deaf-blind Catholic priest during a flight this past weekend, according to the Deaf Federation for South Africa. The Queen of England recently gave 71-year-old Cyril Axelrod the Order of the British Empire, which you can read about here. He was the first deaf-blind person to receive the honor. But things were different on Saturday when Comair, a British Airways franchisee,  refused to let Axelrod board a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg because he was flying by himself. He was supposed to speak at a mass for the deaf, according to News24. Axelrod showed a medical card issued to him by British Airways, indicating he is able to fly alone--something he's done many times. The Comair staff wasn't interested in trying to communicate with him, according to News24. The Independent online reports that Axelrod even recited the safety instructions back to them through his interpreter, but to no avail. A Comair spokesman says the decision was a safety issue, and that the airline "requires customers who are deaf as well as blind to be escorted by a qualified person who can communicate with the customer in case of an emergency" because its flight crew is not trained to help deaf or deaf-blind customers. According to the airline, Axelrod should have bought a second ticket for an interpreter to travel with him.