Don’t miss out on air travel assistance when travelling with a disability or reduced mobility

in Transport

Disabled Access Day - 17 January 2015

As Disabled Access Day (17 January 2015) approaches, it’s time to get clued up on your air passenger rights.

The Consumer Council is urging passengers to know their rights if travelling by air with a disability or reduced mobility after a survey showed that 45 per cent of respondents had travelled at a time when their mobility was reduced.

Jenny Robinson, Senior Policy Officer for Transport at the Consumer Council explains “All EU airlines and airports must offer assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility to ensure that air travel is as equally convenient for these passengers as it is for all passengers. You may not realise it but you could have reduced mobility because of illness, an age related condition, a disability or a temporary injury, for example a broken leg. Hidden disabilities such as hearing loss, autism or learning difficulties are equally covered by the regulations.  In these circumstances, assistance can make all the difference between a difficult and stressful journey or a easy and relaxed one.

“Our survey  revealed that over 70 per cent of respondents were unaware of the rights of passengers with a disability or reduced mobility when travelling by air. In addition of those respondents who had a disability or reduced mobility, a staggering 69 per cent were not aware of their rights.

“When it came to requesting assistance 67 per cent of passengers were unaware that they needed to book special assistance 48 hours in advance and over half of respondents didn’t know who to contact to request assistance.

“For anyone planning on flying in the near future and requiring assistance here is our top five assistance tips are as follows:

  • Assistance must be provided to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility when travelling by air.
  • You should request special assistance at least 48 hours before you travel. Normally it’s easiest to do this when booking.
  • You are entitled to special assistance free of charge.
  • You are entitled to assistance at all stages of your journey, right from the point of booking your ticket.
  • You are entitled to bring up to two items of mobility equipment free of charge.

Jenny added “The Consumer Council also wants to hear from any consumers who have a poor experience.  We can investigate complaints where consumers have not had a satisfactory outcome and will work with the relevant airline or airport to seek a solution.”

Any passenger who wants to know more about their passenger rights can contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or download a copy of our ‘Access to Air Travel’ guide from the Consumer Council website or request a copy at the above number. ‘Access to Air Travel’ is also available to download as audio files which can be downloaded onto your smart phone, mp3 player or tablet device before you travel.

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