Some airlines have shown great discrimination against disabled passengers in the past. New legislation aims to put a stop to this.
When one woman with no arms and no legs tried to board an Air France flight, she was told that a torso could not fly by itself.
On a Ryan air flight in 2005 nine visually impaired passengers were ejected from the flight because the airline claimed they had exceeded their quota of disabled passengers.
Meanwhile a survey by Scope found that Air Southwest asked disabled people to strap their guide dogs beneath their airline seats and that City Jet (owned by Air France) described disabled people as diseased and insisted that a doctor make the decision as to whether to fly or not.
In total almost two thirds of people have reported having problems boarding flights at some time in the past.
Fortunately new legislation is coming in to protect the rights of disabled passengers.
From July 2007 airlines will not have the right to refuse passengers admission. In July 2008 more legislation will come into force, including the right to take guide dogs on planes, although unfortunately they will still not be allowed to bite airline staff.
The 2008 legislation will also require airports to aid passengers from the time they enter the airport till the time they board planes. Some airports have already started on this route. I have found Bristol airport excellent on my last two trips abroad.
Airports and airlines that do not enforce the legislation will be liable for a fine for some areas of legislation the amount due will be unlimited. Looks like Air France may have some hefty fines to pay
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