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Adapted Vehicle Hire News Updates: Disabled air passengers facing “unjustified refusals”

The European Commission has warned that disabled people are still being refused travel by some airlines, four years after EU laws made it illegal to discriminate against passengers on grounds of disability, according to the Independent.

The Commission said passengers have been facing “recurring problems with refusals and inconsistent requirements for medical certificates and for passengers to be accompanied”.

The EU has published new guidelines to clarify the rights of disabled passengers, and state that if a disabled passenger is “self-reliant”, they are under no obligation to be accompanied. They are also allowed two pieces of mobility equipment to be transported without charge, under these guidelines.

The guidelines do, however, tell disabled travellers they must give airlines advanced warning if they are electric wheelchair users, and recommends all disabled travellers advise airlines and airports of their disability 48 hours ahead to ensure any necessary help is available.

EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, said: “My message to disabled passengers is: if you want an easier journey, tell them in advance that you are coming.

“And to the airlines and airport operators I would say: ‘Disabled and reduced mobility passengers will usually need your assistance. These guidelines are there to help you, in helping them.”‘

A month ago, partially paralysed BBC journalist Frank Gardner was told he could not board a Kenya Airways flight from Heathrow because his walking frame was too wide for the aisles. Gardner was eventually allowed to board after “raising hell”.

It has been confirmed by a spokesman for the European Commission that because the flight was departing from an EU airport, it would be covered by the EU requirement not to discriminate against disabled passengers and Gardner should have been allowed to board without problem.

These guidelines come ahead of this summer when 4,200 athletes will be travelling to London for what is set to be the biggest Paralympic Games ever.

In other news, ministers plan to give those who care for disabled or elderly relatives in England legal rights for the first time.

Adapted Vehicle Hire has an airport Meet & Greet service to help disabled passengers and their carers get to and from a selection of airports across the UK. Click here to find out more.