Jo calls time on airline discrimination

Jo: “Disabled travellers should not be discriminated against by airlines

Jo Swinson MP has given her support to charity Scope’s calls for the law to be changed to extend the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to apply to air and sea transport.

New legislation passed on 15th December by the European Parliament aims to increase protection of the rights of disabled air travellers. Currently, the only regulation of airlines’ treatment of disabled passengers is through a voluntary code of practice.

A snapshot survey by Scope has shown that disabled people are routinely discriminated against as airlines fail to comply with this code of practice.

Jo Swinson MP, who has signed a Parliamentary motion calling for the Government to lift the exemption on air and sea travel, commented:

“The new EU legislation on the rights of disabled air travellers is welcome, however regulation still relies upon individual states’ national safety standards. The experiences of disabled people, revealed by Scope’s survey, suggests that health and safety rules have been used to override the rights of disabled people – rights that would be protected under the DDA.

“I have signed the motion calling for the DDA exemption be lifted from sea and air transport. For a disabled person, choosing to travel by sea or air should not mean foregoing rights that would otherwise be protected by law.”

Angela Drance, Scope trustee and wheelchair user said:

“Duty-free trolleys have more rights than disabled people on most airlines – I and many others have been made to feel like fourth-class passengers for too long. How many more disabled people will get left behind before we have equality?”

Scope has published a Transport Charter which spells out key legal and attitudinal changes that are needed to ensure fair and equal treatment for disabled people. Scope’s Charter can be read at: www.timetogetequal.org.uk.