Department for Transport: Guidance for disabled air passengers

31st July 2018 by admin

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The DfT has recently published guidance on the rights of disabled air passengers.

Aviation passenger rights provide that assistance suitable to the passenger’s needs must be provided without any cost to the passenger at the airport as well as on board the aircraft. This includes, but is not limited to:

Travelling with a companion: You must travel with a companion if you’re not self-reliant for example you need help with feeding, breathing, using medication or using the toilet. The airline you’re flying with will do their best to make sure you sit next to each other, so long as you tell them at least 48 hours before departure.

Assistance dogs: Recognised assistance or guide dogs are allowed in the cabin without charge on approved routes. Larger dogs will normally sit on the floor whilst lighter dogs can be carried in the owner’s lap.

You do not need to be permanently or visibly disabled to benefit from assistance, which means anyone who has difficulty moving around, for example because of their disability, age or a temporary injury, can receive help when they fly.

Assistance should be requested no later than 48 hours in advance but if shorter notice or no notice at all is given, reasonable efforts must still be made to assist you.

Aviation complaints and enforcement process

The legislation requires that a designated complaints body is in place to deal with any alleged infringement of the regulation.
Firstly, an individual should take their complaint directly to the airline or airport. If they have done this and are dissatisfied with the response they have been provided with, the individual can:

  1. Refer their complaint to an ADR body
  2. If the airline or airport does not have an agreement with an ADR, they can refer their complaint to the CAA
  3. Take direct legal action

Some airlines and airports are members of ADR which have been approved by the CAA for providing a high standard of dispute resolution for consumer disputes.

If an individual is dissatisfied with the response of an airline or airport, or they have not received a final response in 8 or more weeks, they may be able to refer their complaint to an ADR body directly.

ADR bodies only handle certain complaints but these include problems faced by disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility when using air transport services.

Both ADR bodies and the CAA can advise on whether they think the complaint is valid, and if so will take it up with the business concerned. However, the CAA complaints team cannot impose a decision on an airline while CAA-approved ADR bodies can.

(Source: DfT. 25 July 2018)

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