Travelling with a disability

Travelling is not exclusive…..anyone can travel and everyone should travel, even if you have a disability. Unfortunately, travellers with a disability have been subject to discrimination in the past. Fortunately, there is less discrimination today; however, it does still exist. The EU introduced the Disabled Air Passengers’ Rights Regulation in 2008 with the aim of guaranteeing equal treatment for all passengers, including those with a disability. Perhaps you have reduced mobility or use a wheelchair; or maybe you have a visual impairment. Be aware of your rights as a traveller! Ask for assistance at the check-in desk and make sure you are satisfied with the treatment of your mobility equipment. This is your right.

Remember to tick the option for special assistance when booking airline tickets. Most airlines state that they require 48 hours notice of your special requirements. However, if the passenger does not notify his or her needs, the airline should make every effort to assist the traveller. Most airlines around the world use something called Standard Interline Passenger Procedures codes to help define and communicate various services customers need while traveling. For customers with disabilities, there are varying levels of assistance, and having the “right code” will help the airline plan for how they can best assist you – things like having a special wheelchair that will fit down an aircraft aisle positioned at the right gate, for instance.

Remember that the battle for disabled passengers’ rights continues! Hopefully one day all travellers will be treated equally. Happy travelling!

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