Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disabled air passengers gain rights in Europe

From TravelBite.co.uk July 21:

Disabled people will be entitled to receive more assistance when travelling by air in Europe, thanks to a new EU regulation.

Providing assistance to travellers with reduced mobility will now be the responsibility of airports when the regulation comes into effect on July 26, 2008. And disabled passengers who believe they have not received adequate assistance will now be able go to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to enforce the regulation.

The new legislation is the second part of the Regulation on Disabled Persons and Persons of Reduced Mobility.

The first part came into effect in July 2007 and made it illegal for anyone to be unreasonably denied access to board a plane due to a disability.

UK disability charity Leonard Cheshire has welcomed the new legislation.

"As our Now Boarding campaign showed, disabled people are still facing barriers when using air travel, when they should enjoy the same opportunities that most of us take for granted," commented national campaigns officer Katie Turner.

She called for air travel providers to "take this new directive seriously and equip their staff with the skills and understanding to support disabled customers."

A Leonard Cheshire survey revealed that 61 per cent of disabled respondents had experienced difficulties boarding a flight.