Virgin Australia makes flying more accessible for people with disabilities

Virgin Australia has made it easier for people with a disability, who need to travel with a carer, to access lower airfares, 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.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represented Ms Brown in the complaint.

‘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,’ said Ms Brown.

‘Usually only expensive flights at the least popular, least convenient times are available.’

As a result of Ms Brown’s complaint the airline has reviewed and made changes to its policy so that 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 the carer’s name at the time of booking.

The name of the carer can then be confirmed at any time up to 72 hours before the flight.

‘This settlement means that my family and many thousands of people who need the assistance of a carer when travelling will have much better access to “early-bird” flights and specials,’ Ms Brown said.

‘We welcome the changes that Virgin Australia has made as they make air travel more affordable and accessible for people with disabilities,’ said Camilla Pandolfini, the PIAC Senior Solicitor in charge of the case.

‘Travel is an essential service and this takes us one step closer to equality.’

MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280.

Photo: Flickr

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