Man sues Lufthansa in walking stick row

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Economy

Man sues Lufthansa in walking stick row


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A Lufthansa aircraft. FILE PHOTO | AFP

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Summary

  • A Kenyan living with disability has sued German airline Lufthansa for millions of shillings in compensation after the airline’s flight attendants confiscated his walking stick while on a flight to Nairobi from Leipzig in 2018.
  • Daniel Orwenjo says the airline’s crew members took his wooden walking stick and forced him to check it in as baggage because it was “too big and that it looked like a weapon.”

A Kenyan living with disability has sued German airline Lufthansa for millions of shillings in compensation after the airline’s flight attendants confiscated his walking stick while on a flight to Nairobi from Leipzig in 2018.

Daniel Orwenjo says the airline’s crew members took his wooden walking stick and forced him to check it in as baggage because it was “too big and that it looked like a weapon.”

Mr Orwenjo said he was forced to sit in the aircraft for over 10 hours without going to the washroom for the duration of the trip.

He wants the airline to pay him damages for distress, physical harm and the ordeal.

“On the material day, Mr Orwenjo’s walking stick was taken from him by Lufthansa’s officers or crew members at the airport of origin insisting that he checks it in as baggage because it was too big and that it looked like a weapon,” he said in the case filed before the High Court.

On arrival in Nairobi, he was told his walking stick had been left in Germany and was handed a metal rod to use on his flight to Accra, Ghana.

He says the metal rod was slippery and triggered his fall in Accra, and he is also seeking compensation for injuries.

Mr Orwenjo says he solely relies on his walking stick for movement and the denial amounted to ill-treatment and indignity because he had previously used it in other airlines.

At JKIA, Mr Orwenjo says, he endured another six-hour wait for clarity from the company’s airport manager as the airline was allegedly “looking for a local solution” only to be given the metal rod.

Lufthansa in defense reckons that Mr Orwenjo had a thick wooden pole, “which appeared to be in excess of two metres in length.”

COMMISSION REGULATIONS

The airline says it refused to allow him to carry the pole on board and required that it be carried in the cargo hold of the aircraft as it contravenes the commission regulations list of prohibited articles for passengers and cabin baggage.

“We deny that Mr Orwenjo was unable to attend to personal needs or left stationary for over 10 hours as alleged,” the German airline says in a replying affidavit.

The airline nevertheless admits that on arrival in Nairobi, the wooden pole was not in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

The airline says it arranged for a metal pole to be quickly fabricated for Mr Orwenjo’s use as a substitute for the wooden one.

“Mr Orwenjo left for Ghana the next day early morning before his wooden pole was received from Germany. The wooden pole was delivered to him at JKIA on his return from Ghana,” Lufthansa says in court papers.

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