At the beginning of August 2007, as a writer of this article and also a Person with Disabilities (PWD) used Budget Airline Easy Jet in Asia to go to Paris to Roma then from Roma to Paris. When purchasing the ticket I forgot to request support for a person with disabilities, but when I was checking in and seeing that I was a Person with Disabilities, the employees of Easy Jet directed me to a room with support for People with Disabilities. After that I was taken care of very carefully and thoughtfully without having to pay any additional fees.
On August 5, 2007, Low-Cost Carrier AirAsia announced that they will devote 6 million Ringit (Malaysian currently equivalent to 1.578.947 USD) to improve the support services for customers with disabilities without requiring customers to pay any additional costs. Other than equipment that can be used to assist People with Disabilities, the company also plan to train their staff to better assist People with Disabilities. The company also announced that they aim to hire People with Disabilities in the future to assist in their operations because only PWD understand what another PWD really need. (Easier for the disabled to fly AirAsia, The Star online http://thestar.com.my/news/story )
August 12, 2007, Hai Yen, a female with disabilities in Vietnam had to pay 50 dollar extra to Pacific Airlines (PA) for the support for a person with disabilities but there is no wheelchair. Airport staff only helped her carry her luggage and carry her child but Hai Yen had to use crutches to walk (she had one missing legs and the other has a disability due to an accident). When exhausted, Hai Yen suggested that she needed a wheelchair but the staff only said there were no wheelchairs and that “You already walked a part of the way so try to continue” (Tuoi Tre Online 23-8-2007). A top manager of Pacific Airlines also said that PA will blacklist names of customers who petition (Tuoi Tre Online, 8-19-2007).
On the moral grounds and principles of business, airlines are supposed to provide services for their customers. It calls into question if the airlines do not provide services for People of Disabilities because they have less ability to pay for it and are less appreciated as customers?
On legal grounds, International Aviation Laws states that airlines should provide the best services to their clients, especially for People with Disabilities. Is it because the law for providing services to clients is to generalized that Pacific Airlines doesn’t know how to do it?
Summary of Vo Thi Hoang Yen’s article
Disability Research and Development (DRD)