Firefly: “…you can’t walk I’m very sorry, Sir.”

LoyarBurokker Aruna Sena calls to ask if Firefly is OKU-friendly.

Click below on the recording of Aruna’s telephone conversation with Firefly’s staff. (The recording has been edited only to protect the staff’s identity and for length – Aruna was made to wait for a long time.)

Has the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 been complied with? Decide for yourself.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Your community airline || Source: http://bit.ly/Yagqa6

Clause 7.3 referred to by Firefly’s staff is here as follows:

7.3 Special Assistance:

7.3.1 We may, in our reasonable discretion, provide special assistance to passengers with disability and provide carriage to passengers with illness or a medical condition, subject to us first agreeing to provide such special assistance and carriage.

7.3.2 Passengers with illness or a medical condition must advise us of any special requirements and are required to produce a medical certificate at check-in confirming that they are fit to travel by flight. For safety of other passengers, we reserve the right to deny carriage of passengers suffering from infectious, contagious or chronic diseases.

7.3.3 Passengers requiring special assistance and passengers with illnesses or a medical condition must contact our call centre at least 48 hours before the scheduled flight departure to make prior arrangements with us for the type of special assistance required, failing which we will not be obligated to provide any special assistance and carriage will be refused.

7.3.4 Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, we may deny carriage if after having been advised of the Passenger’s illness or condition and having agreed to provide carriage, it is in our reasonable discretion that we determine that the Passenger’s illness or condition has been misrepresented to us (whether in good faith or otherwise) and/or is worse than previously informed.

7.3.5 We may charge a fee for providing any of the above mentioned special assistance requirements.

Please refer to our Fees Schedule for the prevailing amount payable.

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Posted on 17 December 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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53 Responses to Firefly: “…you can’t walk I’m very sorry, Sir.”

  1. Cris Tracy

    This was a great adventure, thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. BBbbBB

    soo bad of u aruna

  3. beccacsw

    I find this amazing how people chose to comment on everything BUT the fact that Firefly is discriminating against OKUs. Note that the name is blurred out in the audio, so no shaming is intended.
    Personally, I think this is pretty enlightening because I've never spared a thought about how OKUs go through air travel. It's food for thought. Thank you for this.

  4. Bee

    Dear all,

    Kudos to those that are involved. It is in fact a very noble cause by those that are fighting to ensure everyone including the OKU's rights is protected. But it should not be fought blindly and/or derailed from the main objective of this article. Constructive criticism should be accepted and not defended.

    If this article is to highlight Firefly as an airline company failed to provide sufficient/special assistance to the OKU, I am sure comments like im being put on hold for 6 mins, laughing sarcastically about it and voicing out your dissatisfaction to the lady behind the counter was really unnecessary. Some say dont shoot the messenger but look at the message. Before we can look at the message, we have to look or hear how the message was convey to the public/audience.

    • Bee

      When you called Firefly up, your main objective is to get information from them whether they provide sufficient/special assistance to the OKU. You are not calling up to book a flight because you are an OKU or booking for an OKU. The messages that I got from the audio clip –

      the lady working for Firefly – "you cant walk, I am very sorry Sir, you cant fly"

      Aruna – "i was put on hold for 6 mins, im not happy with your customer service and i want to make a complain" and eventually managed to find out about whether Firefly is OKU friendly"

      Thanks for highlight that Firefly do not provide sufficient/special assistance to OKU and how bad their customer service is which you have to be on hold for 6 mins. I do hope Firefly will do something on the 2 issues that were being highlighted by you. Try to also highlight this problem on other transportation, amenities and buildings that are not OKU friendly.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  5. Celine

    Aruna,

    You kept saying focus on the message. Do you have the slightest doubt the way you deliver the message is wrong and therefore, it took the wrong turn?

    Everyone who criticize you disagree with the way you deliver the message. Let's say a bomber bombs up a building and say let's look at the message. Do you say don't blame the messenger? Maybe you can call back to Fireflyz again and asked whether the lady felt anything before concluding that there's no harm to that lady. Perhaps she has been crying whole week while you are celebrating your christmas and new year.

    By hiding her name, she will still have colleagues, management and friends who still recognize her voice and know it's her.

    • selena

      mr aruna actually not a human being …he is a non living object which is always busybody in other things

  6. nor

    for your information mr aruna,firefly not budget airlines.is community airlines…n its propeller…not jets so don have aerobridge….if u want aerobridge u can go to MAS or airasia…You wanna stewardess lift you from the plane stairs into the plane?you wanna stewardess take you to the toilet? thought let logic … do not blame others … if a lot of money, buy their own jet.i think you want to impose the girl n firefly componies that why you record …

    • Aruna

      Nor,

      You're missing the point here. This was never about exposing the lady. If it is about the lady then her name would not be bleep out, wouldn't it?

      Secondly I never knew there's a third form of airline businesses called "Community Airline" as far as the records show Firefly is considered a full service airline.

      Again look beyond the messenger but focus on the message.

  7. Aruna

    Let's get this straight FireFlyz was never a budget airline. Please note that it is a subsidiary of MAS. The only reason why it is affordable is simply because they use propellers not jets.
    http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/20…

    Given the fact that it's considered a full service airline, failure to provide service to those whom are unable to walk is discrimination. For example if you walked into a small coffee shop and the owner tells you that we only serve food to Chinese, that's discrimination right? Same case here.

    Secondly I did not do this for attention or too complaint for poor service but I did it because I feel it's the right thing to do. Companies shouldn't practice discriminatory policies specially towards those OKUs.

    Why can't those that can't walk pay the price we able folks pay at FireFlyz? Humans are born equal, despite the difference race, gender, sexuality, Religion and physical attributes. And Web have forgotten that.

    • Nora

      I would like to share my two pence worth.

      I was a temporarily an OKU, being wheelchair-bound for a few months due to a broken leg.

      I had to fly to Europe via Dubai as I had a ticket on Emirates (bought the ticket before I broke my leg). Emirates is an international, award-winning airline. Service is usually very good. They have OKU services for almost all sectors except when the plabne landed in Dubai on the tarmac with no aerobridge – which is their normal logistics for these flights. Passengers use the stairs and buses transport the passengers to the terminals.
      They had to deny me my travel on that route until I got slightly better and could use crutches or walk down the stairs pretty much on my own, despite having to grasp the railings tightly.
      OR I could have bought another ticket on another airline or flight that uses aerobridge and hence accessible to wheel-chair bound people but I decided I could wait for a bit.

      Of course I was not pleased with Emirates for denying me my flight. However, when eventually allowed to fly, I found that using the steep stairs with a non-functional leg is still quite dangerous. The crew helped me to the transit bus and carried my handluggage etc until I reached Dubai terminal. But now I understand their concerns when they denied me my travel earlier.

      But once I reached the Dubai terminal, once again the excellent wheelchairs service was provided until I reached my destination in Europe.

      BTW, those who are on medical flights are on flights that are accessible to wheelchairs, stretchers and other OKUs necessities.

      Thus, there are several aspects to the issues:

      First, more facilities including flights should be made accessible to OKUs. This is undeniable.

      Second, certain flights – irrespective of airlines – sometimes due to logistics, do not use an aerobridge. People who are on wheelchairs or who cannot use the steep stairs, thus cannot be catered for.
      It is not the fault of the staff at the end of the phone. It is a logistical point.
      For OKUs, we must buy tickets on flights that can cater for OKUs.

      I hope Aruna can derive some understanding on the situation.
      Certainly, it is hoped that all airlines provide OKUs access on all flights in the future, that would certainly be ideal and a goal to target for.

      On that note, I wish all a happy holiday season, and peace on Earth!

  8. Gusnargh

    It is not a matter of cost but I feel it is not quite right that an airline should refuse carriage to someone because of their condition if that condition does not violate safety regulations. Not allowing airline passengers who are wheelchair bound to board, when regulations make it COMPULSORY for airlines to provide carriage to wheelchair-bound passengers in many parts of the world, is simple discrimination.

    The "what do you expect they are a low cost airline" argument does not hold water since there are MANY budget carriers around the world who ARE able to provide transportation for wheelchair-bound passengers and still turn a profit.

    • Celine

      1. Can you provide examples of the many budget carriers mentioned?
      Are they running out of airport with skybridge?
      Who control whether they have skybridge or not? The government or the airlines? I have taken budget airlines in Europe and America but they have skybridges. That's a big distinction.

      What do you propose Fireflyz do in this particular case (bearing in mind they don't have control over the airport regulations)? Are you asking them to shutdown and insist on having skybridges? Shouldn't you as the voter do your part to make sure whoever you elected to change the regulations instead of blaming Fireflyz or AirAsia?

      2. Can you point out the regulations that make it "Compulsory"?

      I think you are missing the point. We agree that all flights should provide these facilities whenever possible. But in the case, the government doesn't provide skybridges for the budget airlines to run – why go after the airlines?
      Did the government provide alternative, such as MAS at discounted price? If they don't I hope they do. Again, why go against Fireflyz instead of the government who control the budget airport facilities or who has the capability to give discount to use alternative flights?

  9. selena

    MR ARUNA MAKES ALL BELOVED OKUS PEOPLE FELT DISAPPOINTED

  10. Celine

    You are also in denial that you have humiliated the lady.
    This contradicts with:

    1. You mentioned about long wait time (6 minutes for her to check the exact article/line you insisted to have)
    2. Someone mentioned about her poor English.

    What's your intention of saying this if not to complain about the lady?

  11. Celine

    Aruna, from the comment above you are looking to add an aerobridge to Fireflyz flights? Is this within Fireflyz's control or the airport authorities? How much does an aerobridge add to the cost? Are you trying to make Fireflyz the same as MAS an Singaporeairlines? How can that be budget then? Are you also looking for inflight meal and entertainment?

    You seem to talk without any sense. I think you live in your own world. And your own right and wrong. No matter what you do is right as you get noticed.

  12. Aruna

    So let me get this straight, exposing a budget airline discriminatory policy for people with disabilities is considered creating havoc and also it is humiliation for the lady I spoke to?

    What world am I living in? Geez…

    It's even more so that a budget airline that proudly call themselves Community Airline should cater to all levels of society. We must not forget that OKUs are part of this community.

    Plus having an aerobridge would benefit the airline on the long run. Now correct me if I'm wrong?

  13. lotus23

    has the recording been taken off?.. can't click on it

  14. needle

    WRONG AND TWO WRONG I support u a lot. Aruna i think u better delete off whatever u posted. U making the OKU feeling shame. Aruna u dont try over the game to bring out all the issue now. I understand pilihanraya is far ahead. Dont be a politician and create a havoc. Stop it. New year is near. Go for a better life and stop OKU. If u wan get your money out and buy the airlines company and u can cater all flights for OKU.

  15. two wrong

    Sha,

    Unfortunately while we sympathize with OKU, we don't sympathize with you. The way you replied is uncivilized and perhaps, you should turn to god. Maybe there's a reason…. which is to make you humble.

    If you read at the comments, we support the objective of helping OK but not the way it is done by Aruna. There are better civilized way.

    Anyway, I am going to stop responding to this as I find it to be a lost cause if it's to help OKU like you. (especially from the way you reply). You don't deserve to be helped. No one deserve to be hit by truck, including you…..and we should live humbly and with humiliation. Not to humiliate others for cheap publicity.

  16. Aruna

    It is really depressing that society no longer cares about OKUS. We rob them off their privileges. Day in day out we see designated parking slots for the OKUS being occupied by us day to day able folks. Have we forgotten that OKUS are people as well?

  17. Sha

    To all those people who say that Aruna is doing this for "publicity" purposes and probably think us wheelies aren't worth thinking about by these big companies, I hope you get hit by a truck when you're on holiday and have to fly your sorry ass back here on these flights.

    Yes. I hope you get HIT by a TRUCK and live in perpetual paralysis.

    I am an OKU. I doubt you're smart enough to realise that your tiny, trolling, argumentative brain cannot seem to understand an action that serves the good of the people. Go back to your cave. Go, please. You're wasting our oxygen.

    • wrong

      Sha,

      Unfortunately while we sympathize with OKU, we don't sympathize with you. The way you replied is uncivilized and perhaps, you should turn to god. Maybe there's a reason which is to make you humble.

      If you read at the comments, we support the objective of helping OK but not the way it is done by Aruna. There are better civilized way.

      Anyway, I am going to stop responding to this as I find it to be a lost cause if it's to help OKU like you. (especially from the way you reply). You don't deserve to be helped.

  18. Aruna

    It is really depressing that society no longer cares about OKUS. We rob them off their privileges. Day in day out we see designated parking slots for the OKUS being occupied by us day to day able folks. Have we forgotten that OKUS are people as well?

    Ask yourselves when was the last time you reach out to these folks and lend them a hand if not an ear?

    • wrong

      Worse is the way you reported this. There are better ways. Are you even an OKU or just doing this to get publicity? From your photo, you seem to be standing well. Basically, you purposely called in, pretending to be OKU and try to be condescending to make the recording more dramatic?

      • Sha

        Irrelevant. I am an OKU and I applaud Aruna for this article and the soundclip. And for the record, how Aruna brought the conversation was very dignified. If she got me, she'd be crying.

        • Sha shame

          Why do you want to make her cry? Is it her fault? She's only earning a living. What's dignified about that?

        • needle

          Hey come on. Making people cry is not the way. Do u have a dog in your house. Take care of it then u barking here

    • Fifa

      Really saddening that rights of disabled people are being downplayed, and that OKUs are being attacked here. Shows the ethical cesspool Malaysia has become.

  19. SadTactic

    Joachim,

    I am all in to fight the rights of OKU but I think the commentators are right (some, at least). When you posted the audio recordings, it became a cheap gimmick to get attention. There are ways to get attention but 2 wrongs don't make things right. You are right that the issue is about the OKU – so the article should be just be about that and it doesn't have to highlight the hold time or the audio recordings. Again, I find it a way to get cheap and quick attention. Initially, I wanted to support the cause looking at the title but upon hearing the audio recordings, I find it to be wrong too and decided not to share as then I will be equally wrong.

    The poor girl may have suffered humiliation from the posting and yet, the person who posted it doesn't seem to find he has done anything wrong. Due to this, while I am supportive of the cause of getting OKU to fly, I won't be able to agree with the way how it's done. You are potentially sacrificing a young lady's reputation and career by doing this.

    The other thing I am puzzled with is why are you targeting a budget airline, who has to get rid of many facilities to reduce costs? Why not target the richer airline or government enforcement agencies or transport minister to provide initiative or making sure there's an equivalent alternative? As you said, there are enforcement agency or government. Why don't make sure they are doing their jobs instead? In the case, if you want them to have a full facilities and in the end, end up as expensive as the normal airlines, then you can also do your bit by never riding any budget airlines.

  20. Joachim

    *a (Government Linked Company) GLC company of a government which has signed up

  21. Joachim

    Aiyo Malaysians, don't lose the point. This isn't about Aruna or the lady at the end of the phone. It's nothing personal.

    This has actually happened before on AirAsia – http://www.malaysianwings.net/forum/index.php?sho…

    It's about companies putting dollars/ringgit ahead of human compassion. Look, Malaysia is having an aging population and high incidence of Diabetes and more people are going to be in wheelchairs. If it's not the companies' duty, than whose is it? The government's! Governments or rather parliament has the power to implement laws that actually protect and force companies to ensure OKUs have the same rights as you and I do. Government also has the respective agencies to enforce these laws. These laws are supposed to protect the minorities who have no say and not the small minority up there.

    Sad to see that commentators here cannot see the difference between making a living and living a life. A life of compassion and just generally being a decent human being. Aruna didn't do this to shame the lady but to shame a corporation which is a GLC company which has signed up to uphold the Rights of the Disabled but failed miserably in doing so.

    That is the point.

    P.S Please look at the message not the messengers. Our education system really that bad, meh?

    • Aruna

      Thanks mate

    • esther

      ya..if aruna were to embarass the girl..the clip would not have sealed her identity, the point is..regardless it is an airline service provider or any other companies in malaysia…there is still lack of facilities or assistance for those handicapped people..

  22. selena

    mr aruna think before do sumething …

    • wrong

      I am quite sure Aruna put in a lot of thought to get quick publicity. This is the last time I am posting this as I don't want to encourage this behaviour.

      However, I am supportive of public transportation to be available to OKU.

      I disagree with Aruna's cheap stunt though and won't share or like this. He just sounded like a big bully. I really hope the receptionist is ok.

  23. needle

    Stupid ass hole

  24. needle

    Now wheelchair one day no more wheelchair. But COFFIN

  25. needle

    Mr.millionaire dont try out your tricks.. Think before u post all this bullshit. Multimillion company and do u think because of all this thing changes will happen. No way. U r a wheelchair patient and do u know why. If u can walk u wil think u r the king. Stop putting people image down. No body is perfect. People are earning money day and night for a bowl of rice. Ur silly job will make u more sick and pain when u think it. U have to speak to the managment. I stil heard the clip and u mention 6min im in hold. Im sure the the staff had refer to someone and get back to u. Help is done from heart and not bullshit. If u think u r great but the company and organise back all u need and be happy. I had fly before n i think its good enough as for wat we pay. If we have a person like u i think this things wil be repeated and if u want to show ur disatisfaction go bring flags n ur CUTE WHEELCHAIR stand there n shout HELP ME..

    • Aruna

      Dude… Whoever you're… Your post is quite hilarious honestly… But I do urge you to read and understand what's at stake here. This has nothing to do with me but it has everything to do with OKUs being marginalized by society and their policies that don't benefit OKUS.

  26. needle

    Aruna nobody is perfect in this world. Think before being a child and posting a company business and if u think u are so good please do open a flight company and fullfill ur needs. Im so pity of that girl. She is finding for a life to survive and im sure when she put u in hold she consult to someone. U have to speak to the managment about the facilities and not to shame people. Remember of yourself as a wheelchair patient. Thats gods punishment for u. We all live here to earn and survive and nothing is great and nothing can fullfill your heart. Im sure u r a millionaire but think before doing a comment like this. Im a regular firefly and i feel the servise is good for what we pay

  27. basha

    I hv not had any bad experience wt firefly. I wd rather use firefly over mas or airasia anytime for semenanjung n sg flights. But i m sure aruna's case happens in all airlines.

    • KYU

      I feel bad for the receptionist. It's not her fault, if any. I think merely describing the problem should be sufficient, rather than posting the audio conversation. I would hate, any of my phone conversations, get published like that without my permission or knowledge.

      On the matter of climbing up the stairs, I believe Fireflyz, as a commercial airline, is trying to do their best to be competitive and has to get rid of all the additional costs such as sky-bridge. If not mistaken, they are already struggling. It's really hard to cater for everyone with limited budget and yet they have to run their business.
      Am not sure if government provides special discount for OKU to use the better equipped airlines, such as MAS etc but I think this issue should be addressed by government, allowing OKU using an alternative airline with discount and making sure the routes are covered.

  28. Meow Meow

    i have doubt that firefly really fly now! *evil grins*

  29. Anne

    Have you ever won/got a complimentary ticket from firefly? They make you call a special number that will ring until the cows come home then they will tell you to write to them on this special emai address which will not be answered until 5 emails later and then they tell you the dates that you pick are not suitable and you continues to call them and wait until the ticket expire and voila they tell you the ticket has expired!!!!

  30. Thomas

    My grandmother almost 80 years old who was too weak to walk at that time, had to climb up the staircases.

  31. Leroy Luar

    I'm more disturbed by her command of spoken English. Yikes.

  32. Aruna

    Thanks Vienna. Just a small part only.

  33. Vienna

    Awesome job, Aruna.
    Troubling how they don't even see a problem/make an effort.