New Airline's 'Two Wheelchair' Rule Worries Travelers
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 3, 2004
HOBART, TASMANIA AUSTRALIA--A new "low cost" air carrier by Qantas, set to begin operations in May, is being welcomed by the tourism industry and the government because it is expected to expand options for travelers.
Passengers with disabilities, however, are worried that the new Jetstar will limit their travel options.
The budget airline has set a policy allowing only two wheelchair users and two service dog users on each flight, the News Unlimited reported.
Robin Wilkinson, vice president of Tasmanians with Disabilities, said travelers with disabilities are concerned over space restrictions, lack of luggage transfers, the way seats are assigned and time constraints.
"There are a lot of concerns, particularly if our luggage can't go through," she explained. "With the smaller planes we worry people won't be able to take our wheelchairs. Traveling is hard anyway and we already plan our lives quite well."
Wilkinson said Jetstar's limit on wheelchairs could be a problem, especially if people plan to attend a conference on disability issues.
"In the last few years, I don't think there's been a flight on which I was the only one who needed assistance," she said. "It could be elderly people or even someone with a broken leg."
A Qantas official said that Jetstar could make accommodations for more wheelchairs if given adequate notice.