Thursday, January 29, 2009

Air Canada pays for discriminating against Deaf Blind Passenger

Dear Friends,

Here is another news where the courts have come forward with a befitting penalty to air carriers "Air Canada" who were found to have discriminated against a passenger with deaf-blindness.

Hope you would welcome the news and we hope that such benchmarks will work as deterrence for any future incident. Here is the news which has been sourced from www.canada.com

Subhash Chandra Vashishth
09811125521

Air Canada ordered to pay deaf–blind man for discrimination

27 Jan: The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Air Canada to pay $10,000 to Eddie Morten –a Vancouver man who is deaf and with limited vision in just one eye –– on the basis the company discriminated against him by demanding he fly with an attendant. "We have concluded that Mr. Morten has established a prima facie case of discrimination against Air Canada. Air Canada has not met its obligation to accommodate him to the point of undue hardship," the tribunal ruled in a decision released Monday.

In August of 2004, Morten called a travel agent to book a flight from Vancouver to San Francisco and informed the travel agent of his condition. An Air Canada reservations clerk, hearing that Morten was deaf–blind, said he could not travel alone and would need someone to accompany him. Air Canada offered the attendant a reduced fare. The airline allows deaf people and blind people to travel unaccompanied because they are considered self–reliant and able to act on their own in an emergency.

Source: www.canada.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Affirmation of CAR by DGCA - It seems to have worked!

Dear Friends,

DGCA has once again affirmed the facilities to the passengers with disabilities for flying in the following article at appeared today in Express buzz appended below

Here is text for your reading:
Inflight care for the disabled
Scaria Meledam
First Published : 07 Jan 2009 10:49:00 PM IST
Last Updated : 07 Jan 2009 03:18:01 PM

ISTKOCHI: No airline should refuse to carry persons with disability or persons with reduced mobility, their assistive aids/devices such as wheelchairs, stretchers and incubators, and their escorts, and even their guide-dogs, provided the airline is informed of the requirement - so mandates the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) known as “Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and Persons with Reduced Mobility,” issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

No medical clearance or special forms should be insisted on from persons with disabilities or persons with reduced mobility who only require special assistance at the airport for embarking/disembarking and a reasonable accommodation in flight. A medical clearance can be insisted on by the airline only if the passenger suffers from a communicable disease, or requires medical attention or special equipment to maintain health during the flight, or if there exists a possibility of the medical condition being aggravated during the flight or if the passenger, on account of certain diseases or incapacitation, has an adverse physical condition which could have an adverse effect during flight and on safety and emergency evacuation procedures.

Any passenger having any of the conditions mentioned above should be subjected to prior clearance for air travel by the medical departments/advisors of the carrying airlines.

Persons with specific disabilities should plan to have all the required forms of assistance ready in advance, to avoid flight delays. Forms and information should be made available on each airline’s website. In case the passenger requires a connecting flight with another airline, a medical clearance need not be availed again. The one accepted at the first point of check-in is transmitted by the first airline to the connecting one.

If carriage of any such passenger is refused, it should be after referring to the airline’s medical advisors in accordance with a procedure which should be documented by the airlines.
For such clearance the airline can seek the necessary medical information from the passenger concerned or representatives.

The forms for providing such information to the passengers by the airline staff should be made available on the airline’s website. The airline should establish a procedure for expeditious clearance by the medical department, where required, to avoid delays causing inconvenience to passengers.

Airlines should provide necessary forms and procedures on their websites and through their call centres/agencies to make the process simple. Passengers should pre-clear themselves with the airline.

The airline should ensure that at the time of check-in the airline staff is alerted and should verify that all needs required by such passenger and stated in advance in the relevant forms have been made available.

The procedures involving medical clearances should be documented and published in each airline’s website. All assisting devices such as wheelchairs should be provided without any extra cost to the passengers. However, charges for human assistance, if required, can be levied by the airlines.

Airlines should ensure that wheelchairs are available at all stations, for boarding and disembarking purposes, before departure, during intermediate stops and on arrival.

They should also ensure that advance arrangements are made with other concerned agencies like Airport Management, where necessary, to ensure that movement of persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility within the airport is not restricted.

Passengers who intend to check in with their own wheelchair should be given the option of using a station/airport wheelchair.

Passenger’s wheelchair should be returned to him to enable him to transfer himself from the aisle seat directly into his own wheel chair. On advance request, the airlines should make stretchers and associated equipment (blankets, pillows, sheets, nursing materials and privacy curtains etc.) available for passengers who cannot use the standard airline seat in a sitting or reclining position for the class of service desired.

Every airport operator should make provisions, including ambulifts, to enable disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility to embark and disembark the aircraft without inconvenience.

These provisions can be made in coordination with airline operators, if required. Airlines should ensure availability of low floor accessible buses at the airports to enable easy boarding and alighting by disabled persons, immobile or incapacitated passengers not travelling on stretchers.

The airlines should make available narrow wheelchair-type devices, without armrests, preferably foldable type that can be moved about in the passenger cabin. Airport Management Authorities should provide ramps at least at the main entrance/exit to the terminal building for easy access.

Upon request the airlines should endeavour to make available on board a special wheel chair capable of carrying a handicapped passenger to enable them to use lavatory facilities, which can also be used as a boarding /disembarkation vehicle where they are not available.