Airline Carrier Announces New Policy for Disabled Passengers
Thursday, 29th January 2015 at 9:47 am
Australian airline, Virgin Australia, has made significant changes to its policies to make it easier for people with a disability to access lower airfares, in a move welcomed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
As part of the change, people travelling with a carer can now make flight bookings by phone up to 331 days in advance at the internet discount rate, without the requirement to enter their carer’s name at the time of booking.
The move comes following the resolution of a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.
The complaint was made after Jenny Brown found that she was unable to take advantage of discount airfares when booking flights for her disabled son because of Virgin Australia’s requirement to submit the name of her son’s companion carer at the time of booking.
“My son travels with a carer arranged by a nursing agency. We don’t usually know their name more than two weeks in advance when the agency finalises their roster, so we have had to book at the last minute,” Ms Brown said.
“Usually only expensive flights at the least popular, least convenient times are available.”
PIAC Senior Solicitor Camilla Pandolfini, who represented Ms Brown in the case, welcomed the changes.
“They make air travel more affordable and accessible for people with disabilities,” Ms Pandolfini said. “Travel is an essential service and this takes us one step closer to equality.”
A spokesperson from Virgin Australia said the airline was continually looking at ways to improve.