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  • So who paid for it?

    So who paid for it?

    Fri May 24, 9:37 AM ET

    SYDNEY - A disabled Australian took a 1,240 mile taxi
    ride which cost A$5,500 (US$3,000) after he was
    refused a plane seat because he was not accompanied by
    someone to look after him, the man's mother said on
    Friday.


    Wheelchair-bound Joe Archer took a taxi from Brisbane
    airport in tropical Queensland state on Monday at the
    start of a bizarre odyssey through four states which
    skirted the Australian outback and ended in his home
    town of Adelaide on Thursday.

    Police officers approached cab driver Ken Marshall as
    he sat at the Brisbane airport cab rank and asked if
    he would drive Archer, a quadriplegic, home.

    Archer had been refused a seat on a Qantas flight in
    line with airline policy which stipulates passengers
    requiring constant attention must travel with a
    care-giver.

    Archer's mother said she could not understand why her
    son had been refused a plane seat after he had flown
    unattended from Adelaide to Brisbane on Australia's
    northeast coast. "It's embarrassing, I'd prefer it
    didn't happen," Joan Archer was quoted as saying in
    The Adelaide Advertiser on Friday.

    "He went up there without a carer so why shouldn't he
    come back without a carer?...It could have been
    avoided if they'd put him on a plane and flown him
    back," she said.

    A Qantas spokeswoman said the decision to refuse
    Archer a seat was in line with existing airline
    procedures.

    "It's certainly in line with our policy," spokeswoman
    Melissa Thompson told Reuters. She said she understood
    Archer had had "a level of assistance" on the flight
    to Brisbane but could not give any more details.

    Cab driver Marshall became Archer's de facto carer on
    the long trip, during which Archer paid for meals and
    accommodation.

    They drove through tiny Goondiwindi in outback
    Queensland and on to Dubbo and then Mildura on the New
    South Wales-Victoria border and through the Barossa
    Valley wine region in South Australia state before
    arriving in Adelaide.

    The journey -- 1,600 km (994 miles) as the crow flies
    -- stretched out well over 2,000 km and was tracked by
    a convoy of about eight media cars and two helicopters
    over the final stages.

    Archer became distressed as he neared home and police
    escorted him to an Adelaide hospital for a check-up.

    "There was no goodbye or thank you at the end of the
    journey, he just rolled off in his wheelchair,"
    Marshall told reporters.

    "I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep and a
    good feed and I'm looking forward to heading home to
    the family," he said.
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