Destination/Hotel News & Reviews

How To Deal With Disability Discrimination On A Flight

How To Deal With Disability Discrimination On A Flight

Whether you have a disability or not, a flight can be stressful to deal with. There’s a lot of thoughts about being in the air with no support underneath, especially if you don’t get the science behind flying! The long wait at the airport, the hassle with security, the potential for lost luggage; it’s all very stressful.

However, if you are in a wheelchair, or you have a disability, the process can be even harder. You’ll already know that you can get help with your brain injury claim from after the accident that you had, but that doesn’t stop you from discrimination and other hardships when you try to press on with a normal life. There have been some unfortunate situations in the news where those with a disability of some sort have been turned away from flying to their holiday destination because of their impairment, so it’s important to know your rights on the flight so that you aren’t discriminated against. So, what are your rights?

Well, the Air Carrier Access Act was determined to ensure that those with disabilities aren’t discriminated against in air travel. It means that accommodations must be made for those with impairments and these accommodations should be made free of charge. Of course, you don’t have to accept any accommodation an airline chooses to give you. You are free to turn down help offered if you don’t require it. However, if you know that you should be given priority boarding because of your disability and you are refused it, you could be being discriminated against and you’d be within your right to make a complaint.

The only time you should ever need to tell an airline that you are traveling with a disability is if you are flying with an electric wheelchair or other device with special batteries. You should also let the airline know if you are requiring their oxygen system during the flight. You are also not required to carry a medical certificate and you shouldn’t be asked for one unless you are in one of the following circumstances:

  • You require an incubator or stretcher
  • You need medical oxygen during the flight
  • You have a medical condition which means that the airline doesn’t believe that you can safely complete the flight.

The issue arises when the language used leaves it open to interpretation for employees to decide who can fly safely. The airline you are flying with will usually have the ultimate decision in the interest of passenger safety.

If you ever feel like you are being discriminated against at an airport, you need to discuss the issue with the airline at the time. If this isn’t satisfactorily resolved, then you need to speak to the Complaints Resolution Official to resolve the disagreement. You are 100% entitled to talk to a CRO, especially if you feel like the airline isn’t following the ACAA rules. You are entitled to a comfortable flight – just like anyone else.


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