Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, has today tabled a motion in Parliament calling for an urgent review into the treatment of disabled people on board aircraft.
The Lib Dem MP has launched a campaign to push for better access for people with disabilities when getting on and off planes, after receiving several reports of undignified and uncomfortable experiences from disabled constituents.
The motion also calls on the Government to encourage airlines to make aircraft more accessible by removing seats to accommodate wheelchairs, and prioritising wheelchair storage for quick access on arrival.
Ms Jardine commented:
“The Government itself has identified that passengers with reduced mobility are almost half as likely to have flown in the past year as other passengers, and that 40 per cent believe that accessibility on flights was a decisive factor.
“It’s time that airlines started to put the dignity and comfort of every single one of their passengers ahead of squeezing out profit.
“By simply modifying boarding processes, removing a seat or two to accommodate wheelchairs, and prioritising wheelchair storage, traveling by air could be vastly improved for disabled passengers.
“I look forward to meeting the transport minister soon to discuss how we can work together to achieve this, and I encourage any constituents with reduced mobility who want to share their experiences to contact my office.”
The text of Christine’s motion:
That this House notes that the Government’s inclusive transport strategy states that everyone deserves the right to travel with comfort and dignity; further notes that passengers with reduced mobility are almost half as likely to have flown in the past year as other passengers and that 40 per cent of passengers with reduced mobility who had flown stated that the level of accessibility on flights was a decisive factor in their decision making; congratulates airports such as Edinburgh on their work to make the experience of flying more accessible for disabled people; regrets anecdotal evidence that once passengers become the responsibility of airlines, the experience can become undignified and uncomfortable; is concerned by reports that some disabled passengers have been manhandled by baggage handlers when boarding aircraft; calls on the Government to encourage airlines to make aircraft more accessible by, for example, removing seats to accommodate wheelchairs and prioritising wheelchair storage for quick access on arrival; and further calls on the Government to review regulations on aircraft accessibility to make getting on and off aircraft easier and more dignified for disabled people.