Airline Discrimination

Here’s an interesting thing. Usually I travel to Europe with my partner. Because of quadriplegia, and age, I cannot fly safely and comfortably in economy. Luckily we able to travel business class and my partner helps me along the way.

This year, 2016/17, my partner has other commitments and cannot travel with me. We intend to meet up in Europe for a bit. I would like to take a personal carer with me but I cannot afford to buy them a business class ticket, as much as they would like it. We asked Qantas if I could fly business, my carer could fly economy, and they could pop up now and then to assist me. Absolutely not was the response. We either both fly business or both fly economy. Since neither solution is acceptable to me, I cannot go.

This discrimination seems unacceptable to my partner and I. We will take it up with Qantas management, and possibly with our local member of Parliament, Adam Bandt.

On this topic, another unacceptable policy is that I must buy a ticket for a carer under a particular name and that ticket cannot be transferred. I understand that this is probably to stop scalpers buying tickets at an early bird or sale price and selling them later at a premium. However in my case, as a quadriplegic who cannot fly without assistance, I would like to buy a ticket for a carer a few months before the flight. Since I generally fly in high season, when the weather in Europe is warm, buying tickets in advance saves significantly on cost. Secondly, if I wait until closer to the time, most flights with a sensible format are sold out. By sensible, I mean the flight leaves during the daytime, arrives during the daytime and has sufficient time between flights transfer in a wheelchair. Arriving at night often means that accessible transport is unavailable. Insufficient time between transfers means I would miss my flight, not to mention the stress involved.

My point is that I cannot guarantee which carer will be available in 6 months time, but I can’t fly without one. If I wait until closer to the flight to be certain a particular carer is available, the flight may be gone.

Oh it’s also exasperating.

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