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It prohibits air carriers from refusing reservation or boarding to passengers because of their reduced mobility or disability*.
It also ensures that these passengers receive free-of-charge assistance to enable them to use air transport on an equal footing with other passengers.
Exceptions and special conditions
Under certain circumstances, an air carrier, its agent or a tour operator may refuse reservation or boarding to a person with reduced mobility or disability:
in order to meet applicable safety requirements established by law (the carrier may also request the person be accompanied by another person capable of providing assistance to meet these safety requirements),
if the size of the aircraft or its doors makes boarding or carriage of that person physically impossible.
In either of these situations, the person affected must be immediately informed of the reasons. Reasonable efforts must be made to offer that person an acceptable alternative. Persons who were denied boarding for these reasons have the rights to reimbursement or re-routing according to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.
Persons with reduced mobility or disability are entitled to receive the assistance specified in the regulation free of charge:
in airports (on departure, arrival and during transit), and
on board aircraft (for example, the transport of mobility equipment and the carriage of guide dogs for the blind).
The managing bodies of airports may fund these services by levying a specific charge on airport users.
Infringements and penalties
EU and European Free Trade Association countries must lay down penalties for infringements of the regulation and set up independent bodies to deal with complaints.
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishes EU-wide rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, as well as for cancellation or long delay of flights.
In 2012, the European Commission published guidelines on the interpretation of the regulation. These addressed practical problems and uncertainties that remain for both air carriers and for passengers with disability or reduced mobility.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It entered into force on 15 August 2006.
* Disabled person or person with reduced mobility: any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or affecting mobility, whether permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, who needs appropriate attention and adaptation of the service made available to all passengers to his or her particular needs.
Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air (OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, pp. 1-9)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 (OJ L 46, 17.2.2004, pp. 1-8)
last update 15.02.2016
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