easyJet accused of barring disabled French passenger

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A disabled Frenchwoman lodged a complaint against British budget airline easyJet on Thursday, accusing it of barring her from a flight because of her disability.

"The flight attendant, on the order of the captain and despite the passengers' complaints, would not let me on the plane because I could not move around on my own," said Marsye, who would not give her family name.

Having been barred from that flight to Geneva, she took another easyJet flight the following day accompanied by her son but the company made her pay for a new ticket.

"The person who reserved my tickets for me made it clear to easyJet that I was paraplegic and they noted it, so why did they refuse me at the last minute?"

Maryse said she had lodged a complaint against easyJet with the French discrimination watchdog, HALDE.

A spokesman for easyJet, Elisabeth Le Gall, told AFP: "European regulations oblige us to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds so we are authorised to ask someone to accompany (those needing assistance) to assure the safety of the person and the passengers."

"There must have been a misunderstanding when the reservation was made, for since she is disabled she needs to be accompanied."

In a similar case that came to light last month, a disabled man said easyJet barred him from a flight from Biarritz to Paris because he was not accompanied.

The president of HALDE, Jeanette Bougrab, said an airline "does not have the right to refuse a passenger because of their disability."

The watchdog will "make proposals to the government around September or October to clarify the European regulation to avoid this kind of unacceptable situation."

© 2010 AFP

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