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Group may fight disability ruling

Human rights campaigners say they might ask the UK's highest court to consider what rights disabled air travellers could expect on board aircraft.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it may seek to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling on the issue in the Supreme Court.

Commission officials said an appeal court decision on two discrimination claims had "narrowed the rights of disabled people when flying".

Officials said appeal judges had decided that international rules on air travel should take precedence over domestic law on accessibility and discrimination on board aeroplanes.

They said the appeal court ruling meant that, after boarding an aircraft, disabled passengers were not covered by UK law or a European regulation on air travel and could not seek compensation from an airline if discriminated against during a flight.

Three appeal judges dismissed appeals by Christopher Stott and Tony Hook in a ruling handed down in London on February 7. Judges said both men were disabled and both took legal action against airlines after complaining of "injury to feelings" as a result of a "failure to meet seating needs pursuant to promises made at the time of booking".

Mr Stott sought damages from Thomas Cook Tour Operators and Mr Hook from British Airways (BA) - but judges dismissed both claims, which had been supported by the commission.

"The Court of Appeal's dismissal of two discrimination claims supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has narrowed the rights of disabled people when flying," said a commission spokesman.

"The commission is considering taking the case of Tony Hook against British Airways and Christopher Stott's case against Thomas Cook to the Supreme Court.

"The judges decided that international rules on air travel - the 'Montreal Convention' - should take precedence over domestic law on accessibility and discrimination onboard aeroplanes."

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