Air Transport : Disabled Persons Have Right to Travel without Discrimination

Article excerpt

The rights of disabled persons travelling by air are not being sufficiently respected in EU. So says the European Commission, which published guidelines(1), on 14 June, recapping a few basic rules and explaining the scope of the relevant EU legislation(2). The guidelines are easy to read as they are presented as 22 Q&As.

Can passengers with reduced mobility be required to present a medical certificate to obtain free assistance? The answer is no'. Must they always be accompanied? The answer is no' if they are self-reliant. Can they transport their mobility equipment for free? Yes', a maximum of two pieces of mobility equipment can be transported for free. This and many other questions and answers, and the accompanying explanations can be found in these guidelines.

In a 2011 report on the application of Regulation 1107/2006, the Commission committed to providing these directives before the 2012 Paralympic Games. It has kept its word.

Joachim Gerard, a Belgian member of the Paralympic team who will travel to London, accompanied Commissioner Siim Kallas (transport) at the presentation to the press. In his mind, while there has been a real improvement over the last few years, he still encounters problems in around 20% of his trips. "When you're taking the plane, you never really know what is going to happen." And everything is possible: being asked to pay a supplement for transporting equipment or simply being turned down at the gate for not being accompanied. …