Deaf Passengers Get Compensation And Apology Over Incident
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 20, 2004
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND--John Lennon said all you need is love.
But what happened last October at Liverpool's John Lennon airport may have had little to do with love -- or respect.
A pilot for an Easyjet flight from Liverpool to Amsterdam told a group of 11 deaf passengers to get off the plane.
The pilot thought the group were "special needs" passengers -- persons with intellectual disabilities -- who would need assistants to help them escape the plane in case of emergency.
The passengers, all members of the Merseyside Society for Deaf People, complained, saying they found the experience humiliating.
On Thursday, Easyjet gave each passenger £500 (about $894 US) and several free flights on the low-fare, no-frills airline.
Easyjet also apologized to the group, admitting what the pilot did was a mistake. A company spokesperson said the captain made the decision based on rules which state that the flight crew must be able to evacuate the plane within 90 seconds in the event of an emergency.
Along with the compensation, the company has asked the Merseyside Society for Deaf People to help train its staff on disability issues.