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How pilot kicked out disabled doctor from local flight

A disabled woman has claimed that a pilot with a local airline kicked her out of the plane because she was “taking too long” to climb the stairs into the aircraft.

Dr Agnes Mithamo Nyaga was travelling from Eldoret after attending a Kenya Paediatricians Association conference on Friday night, when she encountered the “most humiliating experience”.

The paediatrician at Nyeri Provincial Hospital said the “dark-skinned, very tall and intimidating” Fly 540 pilot kicked her out of the aircraft as she struggled up the stairs in crutches, claiming she would take more than 40 minutes to embark and delay everyone.

Dr Nyaga said the aircraft, which was supposed to arrive at the airport at 6:30pm for take-off at 7pm, did some minutes past 7pm and she had to board alongside other passengers.

“I begged him to let people help me up the stairs,” Dr Nyaga recalled. “Some four strong men had already volunteered to carry me up the stairs but he would hear none of it.”


In an emotional interview, the doctor relived the unsavoury events:

“He told me that he had a right to say if I would get into that aircraft or not. He said ‘I have decided that you are not boarding the aircraft back to Nairobi’ and ordered the men to return me to the lounge,” Dr Nyaga recounted her ordeal.

“I started crying. I felt so humiliated and angry.”

Dr Nyaga, who recalled that she had flown the low-cost airline from Nairobi on Wednesday, said her woes continued as she stayed at the airport the entire night, demanding to speak to the manager.

In the morning, the airport manager, a Mr Wafula, organised for her flight to Nairobi but with a different airline.

Nominated MP Mwaura Isaac, the chairman of Kenya Disability Parliamentary Association (Kedipa), condemned the incident as “totally unacceptable”, saying: “It appears that it is a practice of Fly 540 to discriminate against persons with disability.”

In 2014, Bishop Jackson Kosgei, the current chairman of the Kenya Film Classification Board, was forced to crawl out of a Fly 540 plane after the staff refused to help him to disembark.