Cambodian airline Bassaka Air is in hot water after charging wheelchair-user Rahma El Siddig Gasm Elbari Mustafa $240 to use the ambulift to board the aircraft. Her friends offered to carry her aboard the plane, but because of security issues that was not possible. The passenger reluctantly paid the outrageous charge on her $45 ticket from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, but later complained to the airline and the Cambodian Disability Action Council.
Bassaka Air claimed that the problem stemmed from the fact that the service provider (CAM) at Siem Reap mistakenly charged the airline for the ambulift service, so that charge had to be passed on to the customer. CAM denied that allegation, and after a large public outcry Bassaka Air ultimately accepted responsibility for the error. The airline later refunded the $240 to the passenger and promised to remind employees at the Siem Reap airport that passengers should not be charged for this service.
That said, caution is still advised when traveling on Bassaka Air, as their terms and conditions clearly state that they may levy a charge for the provision of accessible services. It should be noted that under America’s Air Carrier Access Act, foreign airlines are not allowed to charge for accessible services or assistance on direct flights to and from the US.