29 May 2012 BBC Correspondent 'shocked' by airline's service
Mr Gardner who is the BBC's Security Correspondent and a wheelchair user was told by the airline that the plane did not carry an aisle chair and he would need to confirm that his friends would be able to support him to the toilet, or he should use a catheter.
Once at Heathrow he was told by the airline that he could not use his walking frame on board and that he wouldn't be able to travel on the plane. Mr Gardner was only able to board the flight after a heated debate when his friends refused to fly as well unless Mr Gardner was was allowed on board.
Frank Gardner explained:
I shouldn't have to go through all this. When I got on board the stewardess gave me a hard time and said, 'Why didn't you request an aisle chair?' I said, well actually I did request one and they refused to provide it. At every turn I got the strong impression they did not want me as wheelchair user on that plane.
Trailblazers continue to campaign for better services for disabled passengers on planes. In 2010 we launched our All Inclusive? tourism report and in March this we held an APPG evidence session with BAA. In 2012 we will carrying out a more in depth investigation on access, so watch this space.
The rights of disabled passengers on airlines continue to fall far behind those of other minority groups, and the standard of serrvice expected on other modes of transport.
Frank Gardner also told how he was shocked to hear that disabled people on airlines are not covered by the Equality Act and are only protected if they are flying on airlines registered in the UK and flying within Europe.
Trailblazers Project Manager Bobby Ancil said:
Earlier this year we reported that key elements of Britain's disability and discrimination laws do not apply once passengers have boarded an aircraft. Frank Gardner's story is just another in a long line of reports of discriminatory and disappointing incidents involving disabled passengers.
Disabled people should feel that they are valued customers, but are often left feeling like second class citizens. This must change, and we will be putting pressure on airlines to think creatively and up their game.
Get in touch if you'd like to discuss this issue further.