Is That Really What Avianca Meant?

I was browsing the internet last night when I happened across a discussion about Avianca Airlines. It all centered around this statement on their “Passengers with Disabilities” section of their website:

“Please carry all necessary items to attend to your physiological needs, if you can’t use the lavatory without assistance.”

To me that statement is pretty straight forward. Basically it means “plan ahead”. And to be honest most folks do that. Trust me I get a lot of questions about airline lavatories and “other options.” So I see it as a reminder, just in case you think that the flight crew will be able to assist you in the lavatory. Because as we all know, they won’t.

But one person thought that this meant that all disabled passengers were required to wear diapers. And he was clearly offended by that. Granted I would be offended if someone told me I had to wear a diaper (and you have to wonder how they’d verify that one), but I truly don’t think that’s the intent of the statement. People deal with the bathroom issues in a variety of ways, and that doesn’t always involve a diaper. It could also involve a leg bag, dietary restrictions, drugs or traveling with a caregiver.

And although I’m the first to call out an airline if I feel they’ve trampled on the rights of disabled passengers, I don’t think Avianca did anything wrong in this case. No they don’t offer assistance in the lavatories, but neither do any US airlines (nor are they required to).

Plus I was rather impressed by this statement, which was also on their website:

“Disability is not a sickness so a medical certificate is not required when you fly”

They could have just stated that no medical certification is required, but I like the fact that they acknowledged that disability is not a sickness. Trust me, there are a lot of folks who think otherwise.

And let’s remember, English is not their first language, and sometimes translations really suck.

Either way, I say cut them a little slack this time. They are just trying to do their job. And no, I don’t think they require disabled passengers to wear diapers!