EasyJet in Court For Discriminating Against Disabled Passengers
- Written by Roberto Castiglioni
Budget airline Easyjet is once again under the spotlight, as French prosecutors charged Easyjet for discriminating against disabled passengers.
Charges brought on Easyjet refer to three separate incidents involving three wheelchair bound passengers denied boarding. The three separate cases took place between 2008 and 2009.
French Prosecutor Abdelkrim Grini, was quoted by RFI saying Easyjet operates "a commercial policy which consists of squeezing running costs to the maximum and, if a discriminatory policy is necessary for that, too bad."
The prosecutor refers to “turnaround” times, the time needed by ground handlers for loading, unloading, and servicing an aircraft. Shorter turnarounds significantly increase airlines’ profits.
Easyjet says they simply observe EU laws. "Handicapped passengers must be able to put on oxygen masks and lifebelts and fasten and unfasten seat belts, understand emergency instructions and deplane without assistance," an Easy Jet official told the court.
However, one of the plaintiffs, Mr Giammartini, testified he had travelled on some airlines without restrictions or limitations.
Prosecutors are seeking EasyJet to be fined 70,000 Euro (£59,000). Easyjet problems in France are just starting; the budget airline is to come again in court in March 2012 on similar charges.