Qantas taken to court for refusing to let assistance dog on flight

An NDIS recipient is taking Qantas to court over allegations of disability discrimination after the airline barred her assistance dog from travelling with her on its planes.

Rachael Fullerton and her border collie assistance dog Strike first made the request to Qantas for approval in late 2022, but the airline has failed to recognise her dog as an assistant animal, preventing him from travelling on its flights.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has taken Qantas to the Federal Court on behalf of Fullerton, arguing the airline’s conduct amounts to disability discrimination.

“Qantas can’t make its own rules,” Fullerton’s lawyer Sheetal Balakrishnan said.

“If Strike is an assistance animal under the federal Disability Discrimination Act, refusing to let him fly discriminates against Rachael.”

The senior solicitor will ask the court to make a formal finding that Qantas has discriminated against her and order that Qantas change its policy to prevent this from happening again to anyone else.

Balakrishnan said clear national standards would have prevented this from occurring.

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