Scottish Labour Neil Findlay MSP lodged a motion on airlines discriminating against disabled people following an incident involving budget airline Jet2.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Neil Findlay MSP represents the Lothian region; he is a member of the West Lothian Development Trust.
Motion S4M-08266: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/11/2013
Airlines Discriminating against Disabled People
That the Parliament understands that, although EU law stipulates that airlines must provide assistance for passengers with reduced mobility who want to use toilet facilities, many companies do not carry portable aisle wheelchairs; commends those that do, such as Ryanair, Monarch, Thomsons and Virgin, but is concerned at the number of major airlines that do not; considers this to be a failure in their duty to adequately meet the needs of passengers from Lothian and across the country; sees this as a lack of provision that is discriminatory and can be humiliating; commends the Sunday Mail and the Reduced Mobility Rights website on exposing what it believes to be the failure of Jet2 to provide such basic equipment, and notes the view that all aircraft, regardless of the route being served, should carry on board portable wheelchairs to help meet the needs of passengers with reduced mobility.
Neil Findlay’s motion has already achieved cross party support. The motion was triggered by an incident involving a MS sufferer denied toilet access on Jet2 flights.
A related complaint has now been lodged against Glasgow based Barrhead Travel, who allegedly told the passenger that an on board wheelchair would be available on Jet2 flights.
"I asked the travel agent if there was an aisle chair available on Jet2.com aircraft and I was told yes,” the MS sufferer said.
"Had either the passenger, or the travel agent, contacted our Mobility Assistance Department prior to travelling we would have been able to advise that this was not something that we provide," a customer service manager for Jet2 said.
“There may well have been a misunderstanding or a mistake as to the exact nature of Mr Findlay’s requirements, but that in itself does not amount to a breach of the Regulations,” a spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents ABTA said.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the incident.