I was flying Melbourne Tullamarine to Sydney with Jetstar. I have been flying with them regularly for roughly two years, and therefore I know their booking and check in procedures for customers needing assistance with a wheelchair.
Usually when checking in my 100kg electric wheelchair I am asked how much it weighs and what kind of battery it has. This enables check in staff to contact Jetstar Security via phone to obtain the 'Security Authorisation Number' to gain permission for my wheelchair to fly.
When checking in for this flight from Melbourne Tullamarine to Sydney, everything went to plan except that the check in staff member expected that I had obtained a letter from Jetstar myself with the 'Security Authorisation Number' myself before checking in. She said it was a new ruling that been enforced in the last six months.
I didn't bring the letter because I was not aware of this new ruling. I had also not been asked for this previously in the last six months when I had flown with Jetstar. The check in staff had always continued to phone Jetstar Security themselves. The Jetstar website also did not inform me of this when I booked online and told them of my assistance needs on their booking form in appropriate sections.
In previous communications and complaints I have resolved with Jetstar, I have worked with them to make online booking facilities available to those needing assistance with a wheelchair or mobility aid because using the call centre to make bookings should not be the only option.
My problem and why I feel that I have been discriminated against is that by booking online via the Jetstar website, I am trying to avoid having to contact the call centre. If Jetstar's website does not explain the process for obtaining a 'Security Authorisation Number' and/or make that function available on their online booking form, then I am still forced to contact the call centre. This then defeats the purpose of booking online.
I was not aware of the new policies by Jetstar and therefore was unprepared for my flight. In future when I make flight bookings, I won't be able to book online and complete the whole process online. I will still need to contact the call centre where most of the time, the call centre operator does not know the systems or procedures either. The main reason I do not like booking through the call centre is that the call centre operators do not understand my high pitched voice and it will often take me at least 45 minutes on the phone to make flight bookings. This can also be costly on the phone.
I want to be able to complete the whole booking process via the Jetstar website. I want them to add additional space on the online booking form or provide a contact email address specifically for the purposes of gaining a 'Security Authorisation Number' for people who need to travel with wheelchairs or other mobility aids can gain the permission for it to fly.