‘Dragging man’ row prompts Luton Airport to order fleet of wheelchairs

justin levene airport

Luton Airport has purchased a fleet of 10 self-propelled wheelchairs after footage of paraplegic athlete, Justin Levene, dragging himself through the terminal building went viral.

Mr Levene’s self-propelled wheelchair was left on a flight and he declined to use the alternative equipment the airport offered because he felt it was undignified.

He has now dropped his threat to sue the airport after it took measures to permanently improve disabled facilities.

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Mr Levene told the BBC: “If Luton now has self-propelling wheelchairs, and a loan system in case of loss or damage to a wheelchair, then I’m delighted with this outcome.

“This was never about money, it was about trying get a change in policy.

“I am happy to drop my legal claim because Luton has taken on board my concerns and improved their disabled facilities for the better.”

Luton Airport insists that it offered Mr Levene alternative equipment to travel through the airport but said he refused the offer.

Mr Levene, who is a wheelchair athlete and disability rights activist, said that he was angry about his custom wheelchair being left behind and felt that he was being denied his independence.

He previously told The Evening Standard: “What they offered me wasn’t a wheelchair – these things are on shopping trolley wheels.

“There is no way you can propel yourself on one, you have to be pushed on someone else, and that’s what this was all about. It’s humiliating to be pushed around.

“Someone who isn’t aware of what it’s like to use a wheelchair won’t understand how important your independence is to you. It was humiliating.”

A spokesman for London Luton Airport said its passenger assistance service is rated ‘good’ by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Image credit: Justin Levene

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Joe Peskett

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