Under European law, disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have a right to receive help to get through the airport and board their plane when travelling on flights to and from the UK and Europe, including on domestic flights, provided they give the tour operator or air carrier at least 48 hours’ notice.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has updated its free guidance on this topic, ‘Your Passport to a Smooth Journey (Top tips for disabled and less mobile air passengers)’, which outlines the right to assistance for disabled and less mobile people in a passport-sized leaflet.
More detailed information on this subject can be found in the EHRC’s leaflet ‘Your Rights to Fly: What You Need to Know (A step-by-step guide for disabled and less mobile air passengers)’.
Both publications can be downloaded from the EHRC’s website.
If things do not go smoothly and you believe you have experienced disability discrimination when travelling by air, you can make a complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is responsible for handling complaints about airports in England, Scotland and Wales and any airlines flying from them. Information on accessing special assistance at the airport and general guidance on how to make a complaint or claim reimbursement or compensation from your airline after a flight delay can be found on the CAA’s website.
If matters are not settled to your satisfaction, you can pursue a claim through the court system. It is important to bear in mind that the time limit for making a claim is six months, less one day, starting from the date on which the discrimination occurred.