Nok Air blasted for mistreatment of disabled passenger, CEO’s insensitive remarks

Nok Air is on blast on Thai social media after a report from a passenger that staff mistreated her disabled husband.

The passenger, Parranee Boolong, called on Nok CEO Patee Sarasin to buy some equipment and train his staff on how to deal with differently-abled passengers. His replies surprised everyone.

Parranee wrote an open letter to Patee on Facebook Tuesday, describing the experience that she and her partner, a retired policeman who was shot while working and can no longer walk, had during a Monday Nok Air flight to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, reported Bangkok Post.

Parranee claims that a Nok Air staffer demanded that a single crew member carry the passenger, Pol. Lt. Col. Tassapong Boolong, from his assigned seat down the stairs. The officer did not want to do that since it could cause an injury to himself and the crew member. The officer suggested that the staff bring his wheelchair so that his friends could carry him down in that.

After much deliberation, the staff agreed.

As her husband deplaned with the help of his friends, Parranee chatted with an air hostess and said that the airline should buy special vehicles to help disabled passengers.

“May I say this: Nok Air has a policy of not taking passengers who cannot walk because we don’t have equipment to help them,” Parranee reported the hostess as saying.   

The words hurt her and she vowed not to use Nok Air in the future.

In her letter, she said, “I don’t want to complain or start a drama here. This is an issue that was far from my mind up until my husband was shot. But what I am asking for is not beyond the standards that a good airline should have.”

She heard back from Patee on Monday evening. He wrote, “It’s not that we don’t want to help passengers who can’t walk. But to carry such a passenger, the insurance will not cover any accident incurred by our staff.”  

He also noted that they couldn’t afford to buy the equipment she suggested.

He further incited netizens by continuing, “We only allow [disabled] passengers who have someone escorting them to be on board.”

Parranee’s open letter went viral and led to lots of other netizens adding their Nok Air horror stories.

Patee did apologize to Parranee and other netizens who had poor experiences but pissed off everyone equally when he said, “For passengers who say they will definitely not use us, they can try. It’s not a bad idea.”


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