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Airport spat over crutch flight ban

By Zhang Zihan (Global Times)

10:30, November 14, 2012

A disabled singer has claimed staff at Hangzhou International Airport attempted to bar him from bringing his crutches on board an Air China flight to Beijing on Monday.

Both the airport and Air China have told the Global Times the incident was due to a communication failure.

Beijing-based pop star Li Chen, 36, who suffered from polio when he was young, posted a message on his Sina microblog Monday, alleging that the airport said he could not use his crutches to board the aircraft.

"They said crutches are banned on board now and said I would have to put them in the hold. Also if I use a wheelchair, they can only push me to the bottom of the plane [steps]. We have been quarreling for a long time!" posted Li, who has released three albums and is known for a song called "Outside the window."

Li said it was the first time he has been in such a situation in the 20 years he has been flying.

"Everyone, please give me some suggestions on how to board, should I crawl, or roll?" he posted.

His message was reposted 5,000 times and attracted 3,500 comments, many of which attacked the airline for being unsympathetic, or for having tightened security regulations in recent days.

The Global Times tried to contact Li, but had not received a response by press time.

Zhu Yeqing, a member of the security staff from the airport, told the Global Times that according to the surveillance camera record, Li looked fine when he was at the security gate.

"His message was posted after leaving our gate," she said.

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