Airlines Prompted by EU to Provide Free Seat to Caregivers

European Airlines receive instructional guidelines for acommodating people with disabilities.To help understand the regulations set forth for people with disabilities in European Airlines, the European Commission (EU) released a new set of guidelines. The regulations, EU Regulation1107/2006, include rules about items that are permissible for a disabled person to carry on flight for free, and eliminates the need for medical certification for those with mobile disabilities. Still, there has been a lot of confusion about what the expectations are for disabled passengers and their companions.

One hot button topic involves the ability for a disabled person's caregiver to accompany them on the plane. It has not been made clear how much the caregiver's plane ticket should cost. It has already been suggested to the EU Transport Cabinet that if the airline requires a caregiver to be on the plane with a disabled person, then this is a situation where the caregiver's ticket should be discounted at least 75% – a discount afforded to crew members and their families.

The recently released guidelines seek to clarify this issue by recommending the companion seat be offered for free or at a substantially discounted rate. Some airlines, like Canada, have already caught on, only charging for the ticket taxes. Qantas offers both the disabled person and his/her caregiver a discounted rate.

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