After discovering many disabled and reduced mobility travellers are still facing problems of unjustified refusals and demands, the European Commission has published guidelines to clarify individuals' rights when flying.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner responsible for travel expressed his anger at the unfair treatment people still face when using air transportation: "Dealing with disability in life is a tough enough challenge: things shouldn't get even tougher when you arrive at the airport".
Key areas of concern for the Commission included the lack of pre-notification between the traveller and the service provider, unjustified refusals of service, inconsistent requirements for medical certificates, confusion over passengers needing to be accompanied, and problems with medical and mobility equipment.
With the aim of making the existing rules on passengers' rights public, the guidelines now cover travellers at all EU airports, EU carriers anywhere in the world, and non-EU carriers operating within Europe.
Commenting on the publication of the material, Siim Kallas said, "To the airlines and airport operators I would say, 'Disabled and reduced mobility passengers will usually need your assistance. These guidelines are there to help you, in helping them.'" He also went on to say that passengers should speak to airlines and air carriers as soon as possible to avoid any confusion over their requirements.
The guidelines have been released just in time for the arrival of the Paralympic athletes, competing in the London 2012 Games. CEO of the International Paralympics Committee, Xavier González, said he "welcomed" the new information.
"Just like the many passengers with a disability who fly on a daily basis, our athletes regularly experience unnecessary problems travelling through airports and with airlines. This should not be the case when we are striving for equality in society"
"This summer 4,200 athletes will be travelling to London for the biggest ever Paralympic Games.
"The experience they have travelling on airlines and through airports could shape how they view the success of the Games regardless of their athletic performance."
To find out more about the rights of passengers with reduced mobility, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/air/prm_en.htm