Canadian Travelers Accuse Airlines Of Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 10, 2005
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--Three Canadian airline travelers are going toe-to-toe with the country's airline industry over policies that they say unfairly discriminate against passengers with disabilities who need attendants to accompany them.
Barry Growe, Eric Norman, Joanne Neubauer have been joined by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities in their complaints against Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet.
They point out that while Air Canada offers a 50 percent discount for attendants of full-fare paying customers with disabilities, the other two airlines don't offer any discount. They argue that those costs should be covered by the airlines as part of doing business.
"The disabled bear an unreasonable additional cost because they require an attendant to travel with them," said Laurie Beachell, national coordinator for Canadians with Disabilities, during hearings into the complaints last week.
"A person who is disabled should be able to travel by air at no more cost than an able-bodied person," Norman said Monday by videoconference.
David Baker, the CCD attorney representing the plaintiffs, told Toronto Star disabilities and aging issues writer Helen Henderson that one woman who needed to travel from Vancouver to Toronto was told her flight would cost $18,000 because she would need to purchase tickets for six seats to accommodate her stretcher.
Henderson wrote that some of the testimony from airline number-crunchers might lead one to believe they hoped people with disabilities would stop traveling by air altogether.
"Number crunchers reveal more than costs Airlines defend policy on treatment of disabled" (Toronto Star)