SIA under fire after failing to load passenger's custom-built wheelchair on Dubai flight

SIA under fire after failing to load passenger's custom-built wheelchair on Dubai flight
Mr Danny Gnaniah's titanium wheelchair allows him to get around on his own.
PHOTO: Instagram/Danny Gnaniah

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has apologised to a passenger after failing to load his custom-built wheelchair on a flight he took to Dubai.

Mr Danny Gnaniah took to social media to describe how he had to depend on a wheelchair from Dubai airport, and had to wait more than 24 hours for his own to arrive.

He felt he was not properly updated on what was happening, and the day after he arrived, returned to the airport in Dubai to meet SIA staff. He then waited there till his wheelchair finally arrived from Singapore.

He said he failed to make it to work-related appointments because of all this.

At one point it appears that SIA replied to a message of his by asking if he wanted to join the airline as cabin crew.

Mr Gnaniah, a Malaysian, could have flown Kuala Lumpur-Dubai direct but opted to take the transit through Singapore because he believed SIA offered better service to passengers with disabilities.

And indeed, the service from SIA and Changi Airport staff was “amazing” when he arrived here, Mothership quoted him as saying.

He could not use his own wheelchair while he was in transit, but said he had been assured that it would be on the connecting flight to Dubai.

He arrived there at 6.30pm on Friday (June 10) and when he did not get his wheelchair, turned to airport staff, but there were no clear answers to where it was or when he could get it.

He was given a wheelchair but it was important for him to have his own. His light-weight titanium wheelchair allows him to get around without having someone pushing him. It was made to his specifications and cost about $7,000.

Mr Gnaniah, a KrisFlyer member, tried to get in touch with SIA himself. He said he had to make an international call to a number in Singapore before he finally got through to someone and that person wasn’t much help.

He then messaged the airline on Facebook and Twitter.

And to one of his tweets, SIA responded: “Hi there, may we clarify if you are seeking to apply for our cabin crew position?”

Mr Gnaniah put screenshots of this on Facebook. And one of the comments said: “I think (SIA) made a mistake here as well... I think they meant to offer you the position of CEO actually…”

Another said: “This is the problem with companies using bots... with 'artificial intelligence’.”

It seems however that this was a human error.


SIA eventually sent him an e-mail, and after he returned to the airport the next day, updated him frequently.

His wheelchair finally reached Dubai at 7pm on Saturday.

Mothership quoted SIA as saying that it apologised to Mr Gnaniah for the inconvenience caused.

It added: “We would also like to apologise for the tweet that was sent to him in error when he reached out to us on Twitter. It was meant to be in reply to a query by a different customer.”

SIA clarified that the contact numbers given on its website are correct and advised customers not to look for them elsewhere.

“We thank Mr Gnaniah for his feedback, which we will review and see how to better improve on the services rendered to our customers,” it said.

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.