Ruling says airlines can’t charge extra

In what’s being called a "landmark victory" for Canadians with disabilities, domestic airlines will no longer be allowed to charge extra fares for severely disabled people who need to travel with a caregiver or require more than one seat on a plane.

The ruling, released yesterday by the Canadian Transportation Agency, also means those who are severely disabled by obesity will no longer have to squeeze into a single seat or pay more for extra space.


The decision does not extend, however, to obese people who are merely un- comfortable in an aircraft seat, said a spokesperson for the agency. It also does not apply to those who want to travel with a companion for personal reasons or those passengers who require assistance by a caregiver on the ground but not on the plane.

The decision is "a vindication of the rights of persons with disabilities," said the Toronto lawyer for the complainants.

The Council for Canadians with Disabilities, Joanne Neubauer of Victoria, who suffers with severe rheumatoid arthritis, and Eric Norman, who flew from Newfoundland to Toronto for cancer treatment before his death about 18 months ago, launched the complaint before the agency in 2002.

cost to airlines

  • The transportation agency says the new policy, standard for years on buses, trains and ferries, will cost 1 per cent of Air Canada’s $8.2 billion annual ticket revenues and .16 per cent of WestJet’s returns of $1.4 billion.