Earlier this year, the government announced their plans to strengthen airline passenger rights, including stronger protections for disabled passengers in particular. The plans aim to make compensation easier to airline customers to claim for when their flights are delayed, add more power to disputes over compensation, as well as to provide more protection for wheelchairs and mobility scooters in the care of airlines while flying.
Regarding the proposals, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
People deserve a service that puts passengers first when things go wrong, so today I’ve launched proposals that aim to bolster airline consumer protections and rights.Source: gov.uk
Within the plans include a change in the way passengers can claim compensation for delays. Instead of needing to meet a certain threshold before claiming, passengers would now be able to claim for compensation based on the length of the delay.
How do these plans affect disabled people or those with limited mobility?
The latest plans are set to ensure wheelcair users and mobility scooters recieve the full amount of compensation owed for any damage caused to their equipment during a domestic UK flight.
Currently, even if your wheelchair or mobility scooter was damaged while in your airlines care on a domestic flight, airlines are not mandated to cover the cost of any repairs required.
Hopefully, these changes will give disabled people and people with limited mobility greater trust in airlines and therefore more independence to travel around the UK by air. With accessibility on UK railways also under review in the next few years, it’s clear that great steps are being taken to ensure travel within the UK is a more accessible experience for all.
Caroline Stickland, Chief Operating Officer at Transport for All, said:
Having your wheelchair or mobility aid lost or damaged by an airline doesn’t just put a damper on a holiday. It can mean a total loss of independence and mobility.
Much more needs to be done to safeguard against this, including fair recourse to compensation for disabled passengers.
We welcome these proposals and hope they mark the start of further positive changes in this area so that disabled people, whatever their access requirements, can travel with security and confidence when using airlines.Source: gov.uk
Take a look at our guide on plane travel with a mobility scooter if you’re planning a trip soon.
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