[nfbwatlk] Airline case, UK

Frederick Driver wt329 at victoria.tc.ca
Thu Dec 16 09:27:10 UTC 2010

Hi Ben,

I found that article at independent.co.uk.

Old news, but interesting.

I didn't notice any update to that particular case there.

But there's another case from 2008, evidently another discrimination case,
involving a group being ejected from one of their aircraft.  One member of
the group was blind.

So perhaps it counts as an update of sorts.


P.S.  It's no wonder the airline said it expects its annual profits to
drop by half.  If they keep kicking customers off their flights.  I wonder
if they've ever ejected a group in mid-air.


Steel band 'terrorists' win Ryanair case

By Cahal Milmo

The Independent

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Ryanair has been ordered to pay nearly 5,000 to five black musicians,
   including a blind man, who were asked to leave a flight at gunpoint
   after another traveller wrongly expressed concern that they were

The budget airline was criticised by a judge for its treatment of the
   members of Caribbean Steel International, a London-based steel band,
   after they were escorted off a Ryanair service from Sardinia to
   Stansted airport by armed police on New Year's Eve in 2006.

   District Judge Roger Southcombe said the airline also made claims that
   were "false and misleading" in a statement it made to the media about
   the incident.

   The ruling capped a bad day in the law courts for the Dublin-based
   company, which warned this week that it expects its annual profits to
   be halved. A court in Paris awarded damages of 45,000 to the French
   President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new wife, Carla Bruni, after the
   airline used a picture of the couple in an advertisement without their

   Judge Southcombe ruled that the members of Caribbean Steel
   International were entitled to damages because of the "completely
   wrong" claims of the passenger and Ryanair's response to them.

The men arrived home two days' late after they were put on a flight to
   Liverpool and spent the night at the city's coach station because they
   missed a connecting bus to their homes in London. Jason Constantine, a
   member of the band, who have performed worldwide, said: "We were
   treated disgracefully and it is very important to us that the court
   has recognised that Ryanair's behaviour was wrong. There was ample
   time for the pilot to allow us to get back on the aircraft and return
   home as we had planned."

   The musicians, who had performed to critical acclaim at a festival on
   the Italian island, allegedly aroused the suspicion of another
   passenger on the aircraft after he noticed they were not sitting
   together. He claimed that Michael Toussaint, the blind band member,
   was able to read newspapers. It transpired that the men were not
   sitting together because several of them wanted window seats and had
   purchased priority boarding passes.

   After the concerned passenger, who said he was a university psychology
   lecturer, approached the pilot, Captain Sam Dunlop, with his concerns
   and threatened to take his family off the flight, the pilot asked for
the musicians to be removed so their identities could be checked.

   A flight attendant had also expressed concern about the men. The
   Mayor's and City of London Court heard that the band were "scared and
   embarrassed" when police took them off the plane at Sardinia's Alghero
   airport, not least because they were the only black people on the
   flight. When they requested to be allowed to return to the aircraft,
   the court was told, the request was turned down by Capt Dunlop, who
   said there had been "tension" on the plane because of the incident.

   Ryanair said it would appeal against the ruling and insisted it had
   taken the "safety first option" in asking for the men to be removed
   from the flight.


On Wed, 15 Dec 2010, Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) wrote:

> Wonder if there's an update to this story which looks like was written in 2005.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Lauren Merryfield
> Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 6:10 PM
> To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
> Subject: [nfbwatlk] {Disarmed} Fw: [Blind_Democrats] Airlines Discriminates Against Blind People:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Carol
> To: blind_Democrats at yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 4:45 PM
> Subject: [Blind_Democrats] Airlines Discriminates Against Blind People:
> Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 11:32 AM
> Subject: Ryanair is attacked for ejecting blind passengers
> Ryanair is attacked for ejecting blind passengers
> By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
> The Independent, Thursday, 13 October 2005
> Ryanair, the no-frills airline, is under fire from disability
> campaigners for ejecting nine blind and partially sighted passengers from a
> plane just minutes before take-off.
> The passengers, who were travelling to Italy for a walking holiday, had
> completed check-in procedures and were sitting on the plane at Stansted when
> the pilot announced they would have to vacate their seats. They were then
> "marched" off and escorted back to the airport lounge.
> Some waited six hours for another flight while others were forced to sleep
> on the airport floor overnight. One of the party was so distressed by the
> incident - to be featured on BBC's Watchdog
> programme next week - she abandoned her holiday.
> "It was dreadful. You felt like a criminal. We were all devastated," one of
> the blind passengers, Beryl Barton, from Norwich, said. "Five minutes before
> take-off the pilot asked: 'Are many of you blind?' and we said: 'Yes, one or
> two' and he said: 'We have already got disabled people on the flight and you
> will have to get off'. They marched us through to the lounge and this lady
> came and she said: 'Of course, you got off of your own accord' and we
> shouted: 'No, we haven't."
> There was no safety justification, she insisted: "We can all walk.
> We've all got a partially-sighted or sighted guide. We could get off as
> quickly as anyone else."
> Ryanair explained it could not take the customers because it already had
> three "disabled" people on board (unconnected to the party) and it
> stipulates no more than four "disabled" people on each flight.
> However, the organiser of the trip, Katherine Hurst said she rang Ryanair
> eight months before she travelled to check there would be no problems. She
> said: "The pilot said: 'How would you manage if the cabin was full of smoke'
> but it wouldn't make any difference. They are used to not seeing."
> Ryanair, whose chief executive is Michael O'Leary, has a controversial
> record on disabled people. Last year, it lost a case brought by a disabled
> man who was charged 18 for the use of a whreelchair.
> Afterwards it said that it would have to raise ticket prices as a result.
> The Royal National Institute for the Blind has received eight complaints
> about Ryanair, an unusually high number about one company.
> In one case, it is considering legal action. Jane Vernon, its legal officer,
> said: "I think Ryanair's whole attitude towards disabled people is
> disgraceful. Saying on their website they are charging an extra 50p per
> ticket to pay for wheelchairs for disabled people is despicable."
> Ryanair insisted its policy on disabled passengers was "clearly highlighted"
> on its website and did not know of the RNIB's cases. It said it had
> "repeatedly apologised" to the passengers removed from the plane.
> In-flight turbulence
> Bob Ross took on Ryanair over being charged 18 for the use of a wheelchair
> at Stansted in March 2002. When Mr Ross, a cerebral palsy sufferer, won the
> case , Ryanair was quick to appeal, saying a 50p surcharge on all tickets
> would be levied to cover the cost of providing wheelchairs. They lost the
> appeal.
> In March this year, Ryanair was fined 24,000 for misleading customers about
> the price of flights from Stansted.
> This year, the airline, which charges employees for uniforms, announced that
> mobile phones must not be charged at work.
> An advert launched just after the London bombings featured Winston Churchill
> saying: "We shall fly them to the beaches ... we shall fly them to London"
> It drew 319 complaints, but was deemed "suitably respectful" by the
> Advertising Standards Authority.
> From:
> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/ryanair-is-attacked-f
> or-ejecting-blind-passengers-510715.html
> __._,_.___
> Reply to sender | Reply to group | Reply via web post | Start a New Topic
> Messages in this topic (1)
> Recent Activity:
> Visit Your Group
>  Switch to: Text-Only, Daily Digest . Unsubscribe . Terms of Use.
> __,_._,___
> _______________________________________________
> nfbwatlk mailing list
> nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfbwatlk_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for nfbwatlk:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nfbwatlk_nfbnet.org/bennett.prows%40hhs.gov
> _______________________________________________
> nfbwatlk mailing list
> nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfbwatlk_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for nfbwatlk:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nfbwatlk_nfbnet.org/wt329%40victoria.tc.ca

More information about the NFBWATlk mailing list