Airline slammed for disabled ‘discrimination’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 January 2012

Christian in his Wheelchair with Denise.

Christian in his Wheelchair with Denise.

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A DISABLED man who has been in a wheelchair for more than 30 years has slammed budget airline easyJet for refusing to allow him onto a plane without an ‘able-bodied person.’

Christian Pedoussaut, aged 59, of Shrubbery Walk, Weston, was travelling from Bristol to Toulouse in France but was denied access to the plane by the airline, unless his wife accompanied him.

He said: “I was told by easyJet staff that I had to travel with an able-bodied person. It is disgraceful, I feel prejudiced against.”

Mr Pedoussaut said staff told him that, because he could not walk to the toilet, he could not board the plane alone.

He said: “I was told it was the policy of the company and that it has existed for a long time.

“If it was on a long flight I would understand but this was just for an hour-and-a-half. It was very insulting and discriminatory.”

At that point Mr Pedoussaut and his wife Denise, aged 51, complained and he was allowed onto the plane alone.

But, on a later occasion, when Mr Pedoussaut’s father became ill, Denise had to fly out with him.

Denise, who is a self-employed hairdresser, said: “I went over with him, but had to fly back for a week because of work. I then had to fly back to France to fly home with him. Altogether it cost about £700 in flights.

“The situation has stopped Christian from being independent.”

Mr Pedoussaut added: “If someone comes with me it doubles the cost of the flight and the reason why I went with easyJet was because it was an affordable price.

“It’s absolutely pointless. I do not require assistance, except getting onto the plane and being seated. If the person making the rules could spend one day in this chair they would understand. We need to raise this issue for other disabled people.”

A spokesman from easyJet has now assured Mr Pedoussaut that he will be able to fly alone.

They said: “We have now discussed it with Mr Pedoussaut and resolved the issue to his and the airline’s satisfaction and we look forward to welcoming him on board in the near future.

“The safety of our passengers is easyJet’s highest priority and every day we fly around 1,000 passengers with reduced mobility across Europe.”

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