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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 16:12 GMT
Ryanair changes policy on blind
Group of travellers
The group said they were "publicly humiliated"
Budget airline Ryanair is changing its policy on carrying blind passengers after ejecting a group of nine from a flight at Stansted.

Vision-impaired passengers travelling with sighted companions will no longer have to advise the airline in advance.

These travellers will also not be included in the airline's safety limit of four disabled passengers per flight.

The group from Norwich had boarded a plane bound for Italy in September when they were asked to get off.

Priority boarding

The airline staff said it was because the flight had reached its safety quota of disabled people.

The group - members of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind - was made up of six blind and three partially-sighted people who were travelling with three carers.

Trip organiser Katherine Hurst said that when the party arrived at Stansted they checked in as normal, were given priority boarding and took their seats.

She said a member of the cabin crew then told the group they had "more disabled people than they were allowed to carry".

Members of the group said they had been "publicly humiliated", and one woman was so upset she abandoned her holiday.

Common-sense change

They were split up on to two flights, and some had to spend the night in the airport.

The change of policy followed consultation with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland.

Ryanair head of customer services Caroline Green said: "This is a common-sense change."

However the budget airline said vision-impaired passengers travelling alone would remain part of the rule.

Blind group told to leave plane
13 Oct 05 |  Norfolk

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