Parliament yesterday hosted a discussion on how some airlines now charge for oxygen, and how that discriminates against disabled people. After recieving a number of complaints, the only airline to drop the charges is Emirate Airlines.

The junior Minister, Paul Clark, noted that the Department of Transport’s code of practice “Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility” states in part 7:

“All cabin crew, including the flight crew, must receive disability awareness training. For cabin crew, this should be refreshed in line with training in safety procedures.”

As if that makes any difference – I was on a RyanAir Plane (hangs head in shame) last year when they started taxiing out to the runway. a man stood up and said his wheelchair user Dad had not been brought onto the plane. The staff told him to sit down so that the plane could take off, and not to worry, because his wheelchair was in the baggage compartment. so not only had they left the wheelchair user behind, but they had taken his wheelchair from him. They said he’d have to catch another plane as they would miss their take-off window.

We had to stage a mini-revolt, encouraging other passengers to stand in the aisle, so that the plane had to stop, before they would turn back to pick up the wheelchair-using passenger.

I’m sure many cabin crew can say “disability” in many languages, but I’m very doubtful that their awareness extends beyond that.

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