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Emirates apologises to passenger after losing backseat of her wheelchair

Emirates apologises to passenger after losing backseat of her wheelchair

SINGAPORE - Emirates has apologised to British passenger Gemma Quinn, 35, who was stranded in Singapore after the airlines misplaced part of her custom-made wheelchair on Christmas Eve (Dec 24).

Ms Quinn, who is paralysed from the neck down due to a childhood accident, booked a 19-day trip across Asia with her two carers at a cost of more than £15,000 (S$26,600).

She travelled from Manchester in the United Kingdom to Dubai on Dec 23, where she learned that the back of her wheelchair was missing.

She told The Independent that she was carried on a stretcher to her connecting flight to Singapore. She arrived on Dec 24, where she said she was "confined to my hotel room completely immobile" without the use of her wheelchair, which was customised to keep her upright.

The airline told The Straits Times that the missing component of Ms Quinn's wheelchair was located in Dubai and transferred to Singapore on Dec 25.

Ms Quinn's sister Jill Quinn told ST that the missing part of her sister's wheelchair was returned to her by 11pm on Christmas Day.

"Our teams in Dubai and Singapore have made every effort to help Ms Quinn and her family continue on their planned holiday, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience they have experienced," Emirates said.

According to media reports, their next stop was Kuala Lumpur, to celebrate the New Year, and then on to a beach resort in Malaysia.

Ms Jill Quinn recounted the incident on Facebook on Dec 24: "During a connecting flight between Manchester and Dubai, Emirates Airlines staff have lost the back of her (Gemma's) wheelchair. Their solution was a pillow strapped together with two belt buckles. Their solution resulted in her falling out of her chair, luckily her carers caught her before any serious damage was done," she said.


Noting the severity of her sister's case, Ms Quinn said losing the back of the wheelchair was not comparable to lost luggage, as her sister's wheelchair was a necessity and she was unable to leave her hotel room without it.

Ms Gemma Quinn made headlines in 1995 when she wrote to Superman actor Christopher Reeves, encouraging him not to give up after he was paralysed from the neck down in a horse-riding accident.

She also met the UK's Princess Diana that same year.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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