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Disabled Lufthansa Passenger Left ‘Severely’ Injured After Being Forced to Walk Down Airstairs When Plane Arrives at Remote Gate

Disabled Lufthansa Passenger Left ‘Severely’ Injured After Being Forced to Walk Down Airstairs When Plane Arrives at Remote Gate

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A disabled Lufthansa passenger was left ‘severely’ injured after he was forced to navigate a set of airstairs without assistance after the plane arrived at a remote gate away from the terminal building, according to a new lawsuit filed in a Florida district court.

70-year-old US citizen Carlo Trimboli from Ocala was left in ‘excruciating pain’ and developed a blood infection when he fell down the airstairs and ripped open a previously sutured wound on the side of his foot.

Bizarrely, Lufthansa had actually arranged for a special ‘ambulift’ which allows disabled passengers to board and deplane aircraft away from the terminal building without using the airstairs.

Trimboli says he only noticed the ambulift being driven to the aircraft after he had already fallen down the airstairs. He believes the pilots had requested the special assistance vehicle without telling the flight attendants who ordered him to use the airstairs.

The accident happened last September when Trimboli was flying with Lufthansa from Milan to Orlando with a short stopover in Frankfurt. When the aircraft arrived in Frankfurt, however, the plane never pulled to an airbridge, and instead, airstairs were attached to the side of the plane for the passengers to deplane onto waiting busses.

Trimboli says he told one of the flight attendants that he couldn’t walk down the stairs and require wheelchair assistance but the flight attendant allegedly told him that the stairs were “the only way you’re getting off the plane”.

The flight attendant then allegedly exhorted him to hurry up as he was holding up other passengers without offering any assistance to help him down the stairs.

Trimboli says he stumbled on the stairs and tore open a previously sutured wound on his foot, but he managed to get on the bus. After a short drive to the terminal building, however, Trimboli discovered he would have to walk up a set of stairs to the departure level.

Again, no staff were there to assist him, although, thankfully, some American soldiers assisted him up the stairs.

Once in the departures area, Trimboli then claims Lufthansa staff initially refused to provide wheelchair assistance because he was connecting onto a flight operated by Lufthansa subsiderary Eurowings.

Trimboli is suing Lufthansa under the provisions of the Montreal Convention, which places strict liability on airlines for injuries incurred to passengers during the course of an international flight.

Airlines use special codes developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to denote the level of assistance that passengers require throughout their journey. These are sometimes referred to as wheelchair codes because they are based on what stages of the journey a customer will require the use of a wheelchair.

For example, the four-letter ticket code WCHR denotes that a passenger can use stairs and is able to walk short distances but will require a wheelchair for longer distances through the airport.

In contrast, the WCHS code denotes that a passenger is unable to use stairs and in the case of a plane arriving at a remote stand, then an ambulift will be required. In Trimboli’s case, he says he advised Lufthansa of his disability at the time of booking and that the airline had agreed to provide him wheelchair assistance.

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  • Sadly this story comes as no surprise. My wife and I flew with lufthansa in 2023. My wife is a wheelchair user and the cabin crew treated us with contempt, bordering on hostility. We were not welcomed and we will never fly with lufthansa again. We just wished they had been honest with us about their disability policy at the booking stage and given us the opportunity to fly with another carrier.

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