Airline’s wheelchair charge is ‘unlawful’

Budget airline Ryanair’s practice of charging disabled passengers
for the use of wheelchairs is “unlawful”, a judge ruled last

Bob Ross, who has cerebral palsy and arthritis, was charged
£18 for the use of a wheelchair when he flew out of Stansted
in March 2002 and again on his return the following month.

But Judge Crawford Lindsay ruled that Ryanair had a legal duty
under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to make a “reasonable
adjustment” for Ross by providing him with a wheelchair free of

Ross, who was awarded £1,336 in compensation, welcomed the
decision. “Ryanair was blatantly operating a two-tier fares system
– a cheap deal for non-disabled passengers but a raw deal for
disabled travellers.”

The Disability Rights Commission, which supported Ross’s test case,
now wants Ryanair to pay compensation to 50 other disabled people
who have also complained about paying the charge or face group
legal action.

Ross’s case was against the airline and Stansted Airport Limited.
Both accepted that Ross should not have had to pay the fee but
disagreed about who was responsible. Ryanair is planning to appeal
against the ruling that it should cover the cost.

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