Canadian airlines must end extra fees for disabled

Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:54pm EST
 
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's airlines were ordered on Thursday to stop charging extra fares for the personal attendants of severely disabled passengers -- or for severely obese travelers who require more than one seat.

The Canadian Transportation Authority said Air Canada, its regional affiliate Jazz Air LP and WestJet Airlines Ltd. can no longer charge more than one fare for disabled passengers who require special in-flight care.

The decision does not apply to obese passengers who aren't disabled, the federal agency said.

The airlines will need to develop policies to determine who is eligible and new screening procedures to determine just who is disabled by obesity.

However the CTA said in a release the carriers might look to standards used by Southwest Airlines in the United States, which screens for entitlement "by determining whether a person can lower the seat's armrest."

The CTA estimated that complying with its order would cost Air Canada 0.09 percent of its C$8.2 billion ($8.1 billion) in annual passenger revenue while WestJet's cost would be 0.16 percent of its C$1.4 billion revenue.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

(Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Rob Wilson)