EasyJet accused of bias against disabled

Dec. 10, 2011 at 7:50 PM

PARIS, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Budget airline EasyJet discriminated against handicapped people by refusing to allow three French passengers in wheelchairs on flights, a prosecutor said.

Prosecutor Abdelkrim Grini, who is seeking a fine of more than $93,000 against EasyJet in a French court, said the airline operates "a commercial policy which consists of squeezing running costs to the maximum and, if a discriminatory policy is necessary for that, too bad," Radio France Internationale reported Saturday.

The three passengers, who were traveling alone, were not allowed on planes in 2008 and 2009, RFI said.

The airline said it was following European and British rules in not allowing the passengers aboard the flights.

"Handicapped passengers must be able to put on oxygen masks and lifebelts and fasten and unfasten seat belts, understand emergency instructions and leave the plane unassisted," an EasyJet official told the court.

Laurent Giammartini, one of the plaintiffs, said he had traveled on several airlines.

Another plaintiff, Karine Vera, said she cares for a 1-year-old child and drives a car.

"I can't see how I'm different from other passengers," Vera said.

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