Air carriers, their agents and tour operators cannot refuse to accept a reservation or boarding of PRMs, as long as they hold a valid ticket and reservation.
The air carrier with which the flight was booked and the assistance was requested (contractual air carrier), shall send the information as soon as possible to the air carrier that will carry out the flight (operating air carrier).
A refusal to accept a reservation and boarding may take place only:
- for safety reasons
- if the size of the aircraft or of its doors make it physically impossible to allow boarding and carriage of the PRM Such limitation is enforced in order to give top priority to safety, both of disabled passengers or those with reduced mobility and in general of all passengers, especially when an emergency may require evacuating the aircraft.
In case of refusal, the air carrier, its agent or the tour operator shall:
- inform immediately the passenger about the reasons of the refusal and, upon request, provide the same in writing within five business days
- offer an alternative flight or the reimbursement of the ticket
Air carriers, their agents and tour operators shall make available to the public, in accessible formats, the applicable safety regulations as well as any restrictions.
Ultimately, while compliant with safety requirements, the air carrier shall make nonetheless all reasonable attempts to assign the seats requested by a PRM and any travel companion.
Presence of a Travel Companion
Air carriers, furthermore, may request that PRMs be accompanied by a travel companion able to provide the assistance needed, when they are not self-reliant when performing the following:
- breathing, passengers should not be reliant on supplementary oxygen
- eating, passengers should be capable to feed themselves. In case of vision impairment the cabin crew may assist passengers by opening food containers and describing the meals being served
- getting up, passengers should be able to move from the passenger's seat to the on-board wheel chair
- communicating, passengers should be able to interact with the cabin crew and understand their advice/instructions
- using the lavatories, passengers should be able to use the lavatories unaided. Cabin crew is expected to assist a passenger to move through the cabin in an on-board wheelchair
- taking medications, passengers should be able to use their medications and treatments on their own.
How to Request the Service
In order to be given assistance passengers need to request the service to the air carrier, to its agent or the tour operator with whom they reserve the flight, with at least 48 hours notice prior to the scheduled departure.
The air carrier that receives the request for assistance must reserve the service at least 36 hours prior to the scheduled departure of the flight, by providing the information to the managing bodies of the airports of departure, arrival and transit .
Passengers have the right to be informed in advance about the air carrier that operates the flight (operative air carrier) when it is different from the one with which the flight was booked (contractual air carrier). The air carrier that accepted the reservation and the request for assistance (contractual air carrier), must provide the information as soon as possible to the air carrier that will operate the flight (operative air carrier), if different.
IDENTIFICATION ABBREVIATIONS OF GROUND ASSISTANCE SERVICES SHARED INTERNATIONALLY
BLND - Blind and visually impaired passengers
WCHR - Passengers unable to walk long distances, but able to walk up and down the stairs and move along autonomously
WCHS - Passengers unable to walk long distances and to walk up and down the stairs, but are self-reliant on board the aircraft
WCHC - Passengers totally immobilized, that are not self-reliant on board the aircraft and require full assistance
DEAF - Passengers with hearing impairment
DPNA - Passengers with mental or behavioral disability