Woman takes Qantas to Federal Court because her assistance dog is banned from flying

Because of her disability, Rachael Fullerton always travels with her assistance dog Strike, but the pair are barred from flying with national carrier Qantas.

She can fly with Virgin Australia and board a Rex flight with the loyal border collie, who is registered as an assistance animal, and she can travel with him on any train or bus in New South Wales, because Strike has a public transport card.

But Fullerton can’t take Strike on any Qantas planes, domestic or international, blocked from flying because of the national carrier’s internal safety regulations.

Fullerton’s lawyer Sheetal Balakrishnan, a senior solicitor with PIAC, said the court will rule if Qantas’ rules discriminate against Fullerton, or others with disabilities.

“Australian disability laws are clear,” Balakrishnan said.

“Assistance animals have the right to access public spaces and a business cannot refuse service to a person with disability because they are accompanied by an authorised assistance animal.”

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