Jetstar discriminates against 'blind' passenger


On August 31, after booking a flight with Jetstar Airways, Duncan Meerding, a legally blind 20-year-old Hobart resident, phoned the airline's service centre to request assistance in navigating on and off the plane, in navigating the Sydney Airport Terminus and with baggage recovery.

The call centre manager told him Jetstar was unable to accommodate any of his requests as it was company policy not to offer assistance to passengers and that Meerding would need to take a carer with him on his Jetstar flights.

"This has never been the situation for me before, whether it be Jetstar or Virgin Blue", Meerding told Green Left Weekly.
"It is quite simply discrimination against a person with a disability. It is stopping someone from accessing a service due to a permanent disability, which they cannot change.

"I do not need a carer for everyday living. I have been by myself to Sydney and Melbourne numerous times since the onset of my visual degeneration, which has led to me becoming legally blind.

"If I were to hit a barrier like this every time I tried to participate in society, it would mean I would have to revert back to the days of the 'blind beggar' on the street.

"Should I not be able to participate in every day society like every body else?"

Meerding called Virgin Blue and asked what it would do under similar circumstances and was told that it would have no objection to accommodating the requests that he had made of Jetstar.