Blind World Magazine

United Kingdom.
Blind airline passengers push for change.

January 6, 2006. - London,UK.

A dozen vision-impaired passengers have flown to Brussels to order an end to airlines' discrimination against the blind or partially sighted.

The row began when Ryanair ejected 12 passengers from a flight from Stansted in September because it could only carry up to four vision-impaired people per journey.

Though the low-cost airline has since changed its policy to allow an unlimited number of vision-impaired passengers if accompanied by a sighted companion, the 12 ejected passengers are pushing for more change.

"I know Ryanair have climbed down, but the law has got to be changed so they all have to do it, not whatever they feel like doing," one of the dozen ejected told the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press.

The National Council for the Blind (NCBI) recently congratulated Ryanair for taking the lead on the issue, but the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which organised the trip across the channel, argues the no-frills airline's changes don't go far enough.

"The effect of the policy is to double the cost of the ticket for someone blind or partially sighted, because you have to have someone with you," said the association's Tom Pey.

"We are calling for those tickets to be free of charge to show they are not profiting from the disabled."

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