EZEIZA
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Airline Policies For Disabled People

Thu Nov 25, 2004 8:04 am

On a local newspaper this morning there was a reader who sent a letter saying that she has booked a flight (EZE-MAD) on IB, but that the airline will not let her board the plane unless she travels with a friend/relative because she can't walk and must use a wheel chair. This sounds strange, since airlines and airports, to the best of my knowledge have special services for people with dissabilities. What are your thoughts about this, and what are airline policies for these situations?
thanx
Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
 
YVR2SAN
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Thu Nov 25, 2004 8:10 am

Atleast in the states, an airline can require a disabled person to have some type of escort if the disabled person can't travel alone. This companion can be a friend, family member or off duty airline employee who volunteers.

The airline I worked for would provide the travel companion with free trransportation.

I however never saw any disabled person asked to do this since the disabled person who were so disabled and would require a companion were always traveling with someone.
 
EZEIZA
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Thu Nov 25, 2004 8:13 am

"The airline I worked for would provide the travel companion with free trransportation"

I forgot to mention that the airline was requiring the lady's escort to pay for the ticket.
Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
 
TG992
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:22 am

Hi EZEIZA,

Air New Zealand has a similar policy - instigated earlier this year due to the fact flight attendants were getting injured at an unacceptable level when assisting to lift the passengers.
-
 
legendDC9
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:27 am

Airlines can request it if they feel that in case of emergency the passenger is completely helpless and cannot assist in any manner in evacuating themselves from the aircraft.
 
bullpitt
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 5:06 am

EZEIZA when a pap requests wheelchair assistance with IB they must specify what their problem is. If their condition does not allow them to reach the seat and sit by themselves, paraplegics and others with more severe conditions then, yes, they must travel with a companion. We normally have three types of wheelchair assistance, paps who are slow walkers, they get assisted to the bottom of the stairs or finger and make their own way to aircraft, those who can not walk up steps, they get taken to the finger and if aircraft is in remote will get a special vehicle that will lift them to the aircraft, and those who are assisted all the way to the seat, these are the ones who must have a companion.

By the way the wheelchair assistance is free in all three cases.
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tracon
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 5:15 am

Does southwest still charge double for heavily obese persons?

TRACON
 
CrossChecked
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 6:55 am

I'm all for this! Cabin Crew onboard flights have a duty of care to all passengers travelling with them BUT it's unreasonable to expect crew to devote large amounts of their time to one passenger at the possible detriment of the service to other passengers onboard because said passenger is severely disabled.

As was mentioned by Bullpit, there are three categories of wheelchair user when it comes to air travel (not sure if the codes are the same in Spain).

WCHR(unner) : this person is able to make it up aircraft steps and to their seat largely unaided and without the use of an onboard wheelchair.

WCHS(taggerer) : this person may take longer to reach their chair onboard the aircraft and is likely to struggle with aircraft steps.

WCHC(rawler) : this person will need to be taken to their chair using the onboard wheelchair and will likely require the use of the chair during the flight to visit the restrooms.

Certainly in the case of the WCHC, I think a travelling companion should be insisted upon, as these people often need significant amounts of help during the flight.

This is a horrible topic to discuss but it's nevertheless an important one for the industry as a whole.
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legendDC9
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:40 am

TRACON, yes, WN still does.
 
prosa
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 9:17 am

WN charges extra for an obese passenger's second seat only if the flight is otherwise sold out.
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 9:21 am

"The airline I worked for would provide the travel companion with free trransportation"

I forgot to mention that the airline was requiring the lady's escort to pay for the ticket.


I can't speak for international carriers, but in the U.S. the basic question of who pays for the escort's ticket is a matter of who requires the escort - the customer, or the airline.

If you are traveling by air and advise the airline you'll need another person to travel with you to tend to your needs, then you are required to pay for your traveling companion - not the airline.

However, if you're traveling by yourself but the airline insists you can't travel alone and require you to have an escort to tend to your needs, then the air carrier has to provide your escort with a ticket, free of charge.

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
lincoln
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 10:27 am

EA_CO_AS: However, if you're traveling by yourself but the airline insists you can't travel alone and require you to have an escort to tend to your needs, then the air carrier has to provide your escort with a ticket, free of charge.

Can you point to a CFR for this? It seems to me that in all of the Contracts of Carriage/Domestic General Rules I've read (WN, NW, UA, DL, AA, plus a few others that I can't remember right now) the statement was something to the affect of "If it is determined that a companion must accompany the passenger, that companion must purchase a ticket". Sometimes the provision is made "...at the lowest fare available on that flight"

For example, NW... Although it only applies to pax in a stretcher/incubator: (sorry for the all caps, that's how it is in the COC/DGR);

Rule 33) C) 3) A) AN ATTENDANT FOR A QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL WITH
A DISABILITY IS REQUIRED ONLY FOR A PERSON TRAVELING ON A STRETCHER OR IN AN INCUBATOR. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A STRETCHER CUSTOMER, THE ATTENDANT FOR SUCH A PERSON MUST BE CAPABLE OF TENDING TO THE CUSTOMER'S IN-FLIGHT MEDICAL NEEDS AND WILL BE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE A TICKET FOR TRAVEL

I have to go now so I can't dig any better examples...
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skysurfer
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Fri Nov 26, 2004 10:39 am

I used to work at Manchester airport (MAN) as a passenger service agent specifically helping disabled passengers navigate through the airport from check-in to boarding the aircraft and vice versa. Most of the time it was pretty straightforward....we'd wheel the passenger down the airbridge to the aircraft, and if they could walk (aided or unaided) to their seat we'd do it that way. If they couldn't walk, we'd seat them in a special chair that can fit down the aisles of aircraft, then we'd take them to their seat using that chair where they then seated themselves. However, some aircraft belonging to certain airlines had to be boarded by airstairs, and their rules stated that if the passenger couldn't walk up the stairs then they weren't allowed to fly. The planes were usually ERJ's and ATP's. We did have a truck that raised up to an aircraft door so we could take wheelchair-bound people onboard but it all depended on airline rules and aircraft type.
The reason why some airlines wouldn't let wheelchair dependant people board the aircraft is because they didn't want the chairs to damage the airstairs if they bumped into them on the way up/down.

Cheers
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 am

Can you point to a CFR for this?

It's part of the Air Carrier Access Act, the law governing ADA requirements for Air Carriers.

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/382SHORT.htm

§ 382.35 Attendants.

(a) Except as provided in this section, a carrier shall not require that a qualified individual with a disability travel with an attendant as a condition of being provided air transportation. A concern on the part of carrier personnel that a individual with a disability may need to use inaccessible lavatory facilities or may otherwise need extensive special assistance for personal needs which carrier personnel are not obligated to provide is not a basis on which the carrier may require an attendant.

(b) A carrier may require that a qualified individual with a disability meeting any of the following criteria travel with an attendant as a condition of being provided air transportation, if the carrier determines that an attendant is essential for safety:

(1) A person traveling in a stretcher or incubator. The attendant for such a person must be capable of attending to the passenger’s in-flight medical needs;

(2) A person who, because of a mental disability, is unable to comprehend or respond appropriately to safety instructions from carrier personnel, including the safety briefing required by 14 CFR 121.571 (a) (3) and (a)(4) or 14 CFR 135.117(b);

(3) A person with a mobility impairment so severe that the person is unable to assist in his or her own evacuation of the aircraft;

(4) A person who has both severe hearing and severe vision impairments, if the person cannot establish some means of communication with carrier personnel, adequate to permit transmission of the safety briefing required by 14 CFR 121.571(a)(3) and (a)(4) or 14 CFR 135.117(b).

(c) If the carrier determines that a person meeting the criteria of paragraph (b)(2), (b)(3) or (b)(4) of this section must travel with an attendant, contrary to the individual’s self-assessment that he or she is capable of traveling independently, the carrier shall not charge for the transportation of the attendant.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
lincoln
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RE: Airline Policies For Disabled People

Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:48 am

Ah ha, Thanks EA_CO_AS, no wonder the Contracts of Carriage seem to do a little dancing around the issue.  Smile

Lincoln
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