Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Disabled flyers 'are humiliated'

Disabled air passengers often feel unsafe when travelling by plane, a survey has found

Disabled people risk "hurt and humiliation" when they travel by air, according to a report.

Some have even had to urinate in bottles on flights due to inaccessible aircraft toilets, the report from the Trailblazers group of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said.

The group called on airlines to "clean up their act" in dealing with disabled passengers.

The group is due to meet airlines, MPs and the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss the treatment of disabled air travellers.

A survey of young disabled air passengers showed that 90% of wheelchair users are unable to use airline toilets and therefore have to avoid drinking before or during flights.

Some 60% of disabled passengers say their wheelchairs have been damaged when travelling with an airline and 60% said they felt unsafe when they transfer from a wheelchair to an airline seat;

Another 50% have problems related to disability when booking airline tickets.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers officer Tanvi Vyas said: "The airline industry needs to catch up with other mainstream modes of transport in order to cater for disabled passengers. Our investigation has found that the process of travelling by air is for many a source of anxiety and embarrassment, regularly leading to holidays being ruined, equipment being damaged and disabled people being put off flying for good."

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