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The EU Suggest to Airlines to Provide a Free Seat to CaregiversThe European Commission (EU) released Guidelines to help interpret EU Regulation1107/2006, the regulations to be used by European airlines when serving persons with disabilities. The regulations include many beneficial rules such as two pieces of mobility equipment must be allowed to be transported free of charge and passengers with reduced mobility are not required to give medical certification. But there has still exist a widespread amount of confusion for air carriers and disabled passengers. The guidelines are being provided now and are increasingly important with the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London.
A key source of confusion is a caregiver that accompanies a disabled person on the plane. The regulations permit airlines to require severely disabled passengers to be accompanied by a caregiver but their is no requirements for how much the ticket should cost. Disability advocates Reduced Mobility Rights says they submitted this suggestion to the EU Transport Cabinet "if the airline requires the PRM to travel with a companion, the airline should give a deep discounted ticket. Deep discounted tickets, up to 75% off their face value, are already available to crew members and their families and other individual."
The Guidelines make the following recommendation, "Where the air carrier requires disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility to be accompanied, the Commission services recommend that the seat be offered for free or at a significantly discounted rate." Though it would be difficult to require a discount for the ticket, the hope is that this will encourage the airlines to that point.
As of now, some airlines are using similar accommodations such as, Canada wo only requires the caregiver to pay the taxes associated wih the ticket. Air France offers discounted fares on domestic flights. Qantas offers a discounted rate to both the disabled passenger and the caregiver.
New Graduate School for Global Inclusion and Social Development of Persons with Disabilities - UMass