EU extends rights of disabled air travellers
Many of the budget airlines in Europe have in the past made life very difficult for passengers with disability and one airline in particular has treated them with contempt so it is good to see that the EU has introduced new regulations relating to the treatment of elderly and disabled passengers.
New rules will bar discriminatory practices and allow guide dogs onto planes for free.
Airlines and tour operators will, from 26 July, officially be prohibited from refusing to take bookings from passengers because of a disability.
That rule, adopted by the European Parliament and Council in July 2006, is part of a package of measures that should mean that elderly and disabled passengers will be able to travel to, from or within the EU without facing discrimination or additional cost.
According to the Commission, around one-third of the EU’s population suffer from problems that make it difficult for them to walk the long distances often required in modern airports or make it difficult for them to board a plane.
In 2004, the budget airline Ryanair was heavily criticised by disability groups after it forced a disabled man to pay to use a wheelchair at a London airport. The airline was subsequently forced by an English court to pay the passenger compensation.
EU rule to give more rights to disabled air travellers
A new EU rule giving greater rights to disabled air travellers comes into force today.
Under the new regulations, assistance, if required, will given by airports to disabled passengers without a charge.
Airlines will also be obliged to offer certain free services such as the transport of wheelchairs and guide dogs. The regulation will also mean airlines cannot refuse carriage or bookings on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility.
The new rule applies to any flight leaving an airport in the European Union and also to flights on European airlines arriving in the EU.