[nabs-l] Air Canada challenges deaf, blind man's right to travel alone; Burnaby
len at gatamundo.com
Tue Jun 9 02:24:14 UTC 2009
More of the usual ablist discrimination. The guy sounds very competent.
If he chooses to travel alone, they have no place interfering with his
well thought through decision. I hope to heck he wins. If he does not
the precedent will be a bad one.
> I absolutely agree with you! I have a friend who's deaf-blind. Once he
> gets older and is able to travel independently, I would never want him
> to be denied the right to travel alone if he thinks he's able to do so!
> Many deaf-blind people do use assistants they call "SSPs" (support
> service providers) to assist them when necessary and, if hearing,
> interpret for them. If the client in the case feels he doesn't need an
> SSP, he certainly should be allowed to travel without one.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sarah Alawami" <marrie12 at gmail.com>
> To: "'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'"
> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 3:12 PM
> Subject: [nabs-l] Air Canada challenges deaf, blind man's right to
> travel alone; Burnaby
>> What do you all think of this? I think personally that he has the
>> right to
>> choose weather he can travel unassisted. The article is below. If I
>> sent this, my apoligies for the duplicate.
>> Air Canada challenges deaf, blind man's right to travel alone; Burnaby
>> athlete says he is capable
>> Janice Tibbetts
>> Vancouver Sun, Apr. 7, 2009
>> In a case that balances passenger safety and the rights of the disabled,
>> Canada is challenging a deaf and blind man's contention that he
>> should be
>> allowed to fly without an attendant.
>> The airline will argue in Federal Court that not allowing Burnaby
>> Eddy Morten to fly alone is justified discrimination.
>> Morten counters that he has a system for safe air travel with his
>> dog, he has been self-sufficient all his life, and that he has made many
>> past trips on planes, trains and buses.
>> "I have never needed a babysitter," Morten, a father of two and a
>> bronze medallist in judo, wrote in an e-mail.
>> "Air Canada routinely allows people who are blind, people who cannot
>> and people who may be very disabled due to aging to travel
>> unattended. Why
>> not me?"
>> Air Canada is fighting Morten in court after losing a Canadian Human
>> Tribunal decision in January.
>> The tribunal did not order the airline to allow Morten to travel alone,
>> said he had the right to be assessed for self-reliance rather than
>> automatically ordered to bring an attendant.
>> The tribunal, ruling that Air Canada had not met its obligation to
>> accommodate Morten to the point of "undue hardship," ordered the airline
>> pay Morten $10,000 in damages. Air Canada is not contesting the award.
>> "It's the principle we're concerned about," said the airline's spokesman
>> Peter Fitzpatrick. "It comes down to the safety of the disabled
>> and other passengers on the aircraft." Fitzpatrick cited the recent
>> of US Airways passengers in the Hudson River as an example of a
>> and quick evacuation.
>> The dispute between Air Canada and Morten began five years ago, when he
>> unsuccessfully tried to book a flight from Vancouver to San Francisco
>> without being accompanied by an assistant.
>> He says he was "disempowered" by the rebuff and that he should not
>> have to
>> shoulder the cost of hiring an attendant. While Air Canada policy has
>> recently changed to permit attendants to travel for free
>> domestically, the
>> concession does not apply to international travel.
>> The vice-president of the Alliance of Equality for Blind Canadians said
>> Monday that financially strapped Air Canada should be spending its
>> resources more wisely than on fighting a disabled man who wants to
>> "There should be no blanket exclusions," said John Rae, who believes
>> person's declaration they are self-reliant should be enough. Barring
>> each case should be individually assessed, particularly since there are
>> varying degrees of impairment, he said.
>> Morten, who was born deaf but with good vision, has Usher's Syndrome, a
>> condition that caused him to gradually lose his sight. Now in his late
>> he is completely blind in his left eye and has severely limited
>> vision in
>> his right eye.
>> Morten testified before the tribunal that he knows airline safety
>> and would be able to find the emergency exits by following the lights
>> the aisle. He also travels with pre-printed file cards containing such
>> phrases as "I am deaf/blind, to talk to me, please write on my palm in
>> block letters."
>> He also says that he could see an oxygen mask if it fell in front of
>> and knows how to use a life vest if necessary.
>> The airline will also argue in court that the human rights tribunal
>> overstepped its jurisdiction when it ruled on the case.
>> Air Canada said the proper body to decide is the Canadian Transportation
>> Agency, which ruled in 2005 that the airline was justified in
>> against Morten.
>> Sarah Alawami
>> msn: chellist at hotmail.com
>> website: http://www.marrie.org
>> twitter: http://twitter.com/marrie1
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