A disabled Kenyan man has sued German airline Lufthansa after he was allegedly mistreated aboard one of the company’s flights.
Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo says he suffered after he was stopped from using his walking stick during the flight, hence inconveniencing his movement. He was traveling from Halle airport in Germany to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi on July 3rd, 2018, when the incident happened.
He claims that the airline’s officers took his walking stick and insisted that he checks it in as baggage because it was “too big and that it looked like a weapon.” This happened even after he told them that he could not walk without it.
“As a result of the serious failure of the airline to attend to my personal needs, I sat in the aircraft for over 10 hours without going to the washroom for the combined duration of the trip,” Orwenjo said in court papers, adding that his plea to get assistance to go to the washroom during the flight fell on a deaf ear.
Upon landing at JKIA, Orwenjo says he could not find his walking stick and after several inquiries, he was told it had remained behind in Germany.
He says he was forced to wait for several hours as the airline was allegedly “looking for a local solution” only to end up being given a metallic rod to use for his trip to Accra on July 4th. He had been assured that the stick would be delivered to his hotel the same day he arrived at JKIA in the evening.
“Indeed the metallic rod is so slippery that I fell down no less than eight times from the time I started using it. Needless to say, I suffered physical and psychological injury,” Orwenjo adds in court documents.
On its part, Lufthansa claims that Orwenjo had a thick wooden pole, “which appeared to be in excess of two meters in length.”
“We deny that Mr. Orwenjo was unable to attend to personal needs or left stationary for over 10 hours as alleged,” Lufthansa says in replying affidavit.
But the airline admits that on arrival in Nairobi, the ‘wooden pole’ was not in the cargo hold of the aircraft and it arranged for a metal pole to be quickly fabricated for Orwenjo’s use as a substitute for the wooden pole.
“Mr. Orwenjo left for Ghana the next day early morning before his wooden pole was received from Germany. The wooden pole was delivered to him at JKIA on his return from Ghana,” Lufthansa adds.
Orwenjo argues that he had previously flown aboard many airlines with the same walking stick before and it has never treated as a weapon. He said he had never experienced such grave injustice before as exhibited by Lufthansa.