Disabled flyers express frustration over airline “double charging”

According to the BBC, major airlines are found to be charging some disabled passengers double the fare for flying from the UK.

The BBC contacted nearly 30 carriers, and they stated that passengers with mobility issues are required to purchase a full-price ticket for a personal care assistant (PA).

Even though the UK continues to uphold the Civil Aviation Authority’s guidance on EU law post-Brexit, which advises airlines to subsidize the cost, individuals with mobility issues who are disabled feel that the current situation is discriminatory.

Melody Powell has been diligently saving up to visit her friends in New York, who provided her company online during years of Covid shielding. However, she now finds the extra cost of flying to be prohibitively expensive.

At 25 years old, Melody relies on a wheelchair and requires a personal assistant (PA) to assist her during flights, particularly for accessing the restroom and disembarking.

While she has managed to save almost £600 to cover her own fare, she still faces the challenge of affording an additional full-price ticket for her PA.

“It’s quite scary to see how much it will cost me to fly just because I’m disabled,” she says.

Richard Amm is facing difficulties in visiting his family in South Africa, especially during the festive season or at short notice when personal assistant (PA) tickets can cost as much as £1,500.

The cost of flying over was too high when his 77-year-old mother broke three ribs recently.

Richard expresses his desire to visit his mum, but with the doubled cost, it becomes unfeasible for him to make the trip.

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Due to using a wheelchair and having difficulty lifting his arms, the 40-year-old requires assistance on long flights.

He strongly believes that the current situation is “completely discriminatory,” exacerbating the financial burden for disabled individuals already grappling with high living costs.

Richard explains that the majority of us lack the financial means to purchase even a ticket for ourselves.

According to disability charity Scope, the average extra monthly expenses for disabled individuals amount to approximately £600.

These costs arise due to the necessity of specialized equipment and increased essential expenditures like energy usage.

The employment rate for disabled individuals stands at 54%, which is notably lower compared to the employment rate of 82% among non-disabled individuals.

Source : bbc.com