The Travel Magazine

New EU Rights for Disabled Travellers

Help given by airports

21 July 2008

Disabled air passengers are to receive more help as they travel through airports following new EU legislation.

From July 26 all passengers who have a disability or suffer from reduced mobility must be given appropriate help by airports from arrival through check in and onto the departure gates and boarding.

Before the legislation, the onus on helping passengers with mobility problems was on both airports and airlines.

Leonard Cheshire Disability, which has been campaigning for greater rights for disabled passengers whilst travelling as part of its Now Boarding strategy, recently conducted a survey which revealed that 61% of respondents with mobility issues had experienced problems boarding a plane with 75% saying airline and airport staff did not understand how they could help them.

A spokesman for Leonard Cheshire Disability said: “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.

“We want to see air travel providers take this new directive seriously and equip their staff with the skills and understanding to support disabled customers. They need to ensure that disabled air travellers are satisfied with the journeys and feel confident to fly again.”

Travellers who feel they have not been helped sufficiently can now alert the Equality and Human Rights Commission. There are more than 10m registered disabled people currently living in the UK.

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