• France's news in English
 

Anger as deaf people banned from taking flight

Matthew Warren · 25 Sep 2011, 18:45

Published: 22 Sep 2011 10:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Sep 2011 18:45 GMT+02:00

A group of 22 holiday makers with hearing difficulties who were prevented from boarding an Air Méditerranée flight for "security reasons" will have their case reviewed by the state authority for defending human rights.

The group, including 18 deaf people, three with hearing difficulties and one person without hearing problems, had already checked in their bags for the flight from Marseille to Bodrum in Turkey when they were told they would not be allowed to board.

"Just as we were about to board, someone from the company told us we couldn't," Fabienne Guiramand, the daughter of one of the women in the group, told AFP.

"We tried to explain to the person who was liaising between us and the pilot that we were all perfectly self-reliant," said another passenger. "Apart from, perhaps, two people who can't speak, everyone was capable of talking and making themselves understood. Several were wearing hearing aids."

The airline said on Wednesday that they "regretted" the incident but there were important security reasons.

"In the procedures of Air Méditerranée, the deaf are considered persons of reduced mobility," said a spokeswoman, adding that in such a case the airline would normally assign a member of cabin crew for every five people.

The company denied it had discriminated against the group, but admitted that it had made "communication errors" and that the pilot should have spoken directly to the group. 

"It was unfortunate on our part," said the spokeswoman. "They felt they were being excluded because of their disability when, in fact, it was just for security reasons."

"There was no reason to stop them boarding," said Cédric Lorant, president of an association for the hard of hearing, Unisda (Union Nationale pour l'Insertion Sociale du Déficient Auditif).

"These are people with hearing difficulties but they are able to understand security guidelines and travel autonomously," he told AFP.

Solidarity minister Roselyne Bachelot took up the case on Wednesday, referring the matter to the state-appointed ombudsman for human rights, the Défenseur des droits.

"On an airplane, a deaf person is in the same situation as someone who doesn't speak the language of the cabin crew," she said on Wednesday. "Should we only allow people who speak English or French to board?"

The Défenseur des droits confirmed on Wednesday evening in a statement that they were examining the case and would "hold hearings if required."

twitter.com/matthew_warren

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

2011-09-23 19:49:13 by Mahhn
so small children are never allowed on the planes ? people that don't speak the same language ? how about blind people or chair ridden? What about company CEO and other stupid people? how Fing stupid, that's one airline I will never fly.
Today's headlines
Europe ministers call for more train security
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP

Europe ministers call for more train security

4 hours ago

European ministers called on Saturday for more multinational patrols and tickets marked with passengers' names on major continental trains in the wake of last week's foiled jihadist attack.

French reporters 'blackmail king'
King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Photo: Fadel Senna / AFP

French reporters 'blackmail king'

1 day ago

Two French investigative journalists have been charged in Paris with trying to blackmail the king of Morocco, legal sources said Saturday.

French meal-sharing websites under fire
Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

French meal-sharing websites under fire

1 day ago

First taxis rose up against Uber, then hotels challenged Airbnb and now, restaurants in France are taking on meal-sharing sites they believe create unfair competition and could sap jobs.

French drug dealer held for giving free samples
On the handwritten leaflet the dealer added a taped half gram of cannabis resin. Photo: Police Nationale

French drug dealer held for giving free samples

2 days ago

A man in central France has been hauled in by the police after he reportedly gave out flyers advertising his product - together with a free sample of cannabis resin.

Top French MP quits 'leftist' Green party
French MP and former member of Ecological-Green Party (EELV) Francois de Rugy gives a press conference. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Top French MP quits 'leftist' Green party

2 days ago

One of the leaders of the ecologist parliamentary group, François de Rugy, has resigned from France’s Green Party, claiming that the party has moved too far to the left.

Minister: 35-hour week not working in France
French Economy Minister Emmanual Macron. Photo: AFP

Minister: 35-hour week not working in France

2 days ago

France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron took aim at France's 35-hour working week on Thursday, saying the Socialists were wrong to think life would improve if people worked fewer hours.

French traffic headaches forecast as holidays end
Being stuck in a car or a train will not be pleasant this weekend. Photo: AFP

French traffic headaches forecast as holidays end

2 days ago

School's back next week - and the weekend traffic is forecast to be a nightmare as everyone returns home from their holidays. Here's what you need to know.

Ligue 1
Kurzawa out of clash with former club Monaco
Paris Saint-Germain newly recruited defender Layvin Kurzawa. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Kurzawa out of clash with former club Monaco

2 days ago

New Paris Saint-Germain signing Layvin Kurzawa will miss an immediate return to former employers Monaco on Sunday due to an ankle injury.

French fraudster targets women called Josette
Several Josettes in France have been targeted by the fraudster. Photo: Duru/Flickr

French fraudster targets women called Josette

2 days ago

French women named Josette are advised to be on their guard after three women with that name were targeted by a fraudster in the northern city of Rouen. Several other Josettes are also thought to have been targeted.

Scarlett Johansson loses war on French book
The decision to republish comes one year after Delacourt was ordered to pay the star €2,500 ($3400) for his depiction of her in the novel. Photo: AFP

Scarlett Johansson loses war on French book

2 days ago

A French novel based on American actress Scarlett Johansson which the star sought to ban has now been translated into English and will be published in the UK within weeks, British media has reported.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

IN PICS: Police evict 300 people from France's oldest shanty town
11-year-old boy miraculously survives six-storey fall in Paris
Features
Take a look at some of the wackiest bars you can find in Paris
National
Feminist stunt sees French road signs changed for the day
National
Two men jailed after 'Charlie Hebdo 2' scare
National
French minister calls for tougher train security after foiled attack
National
President Hollande condemns arson attack on mosque
TIMELINE: What exactly happened on the Paris-bound "terror train"?
Travel
Could coaches overtake trains when it comes to travelling in France?
Train gunman: Islamic extremist or homeless misfit?
Meet the five heroes who foiled the French train attack
National
France set for 'tourism record' of 85 million visitors in 2015
National
Paris students are helping police to warn Asian visitors about crime
Naked couple found dead beside French fortress
Europe's biggest science museum burns in Paris
Robber found half-naked and asleep in French beauty salon
National
Here are eight tips for blending in with the French while at the beach
Humans of Paris: We meet the man changing our perception of Parisians
National
France reveals new plans for Sunday and late-night shopping
Read about this revolutionary kidney op in a Toulouse hospital
National
Panic after four dogs 'poisoned' after walks in Paris park
France hit by huge summer spike in abandoned pets
National
France boils in second hottest summer ever
Technology
Meet Max - the first person in France to receive a 3D-printed hand
Politics
French minister admits to 'Obama engagement' tweeting mishap
Features
From giant bubbles to treehouses - here are the craziest hotels in France
National
How would you like to spend a night in the Palace of Versailles?
French manager paid to do nothing for 12 years
Features
We talk to Calais residents about their migrant crisis
National
Cow spared after fleeing from abattoir in France
FIVE reasons why everyone should visit Calais... yes Calais
Travel
France for adrenaline junkies: Ten crazy things to do
VIDEO: Slingshot elastic breaks on ride at French theme park
This plant might spell the end of the Asian hornet invasion
Who says the French don't like speaking English
National
It may be trickier to find a baguette in Paris this August
Killers of French student were 'inspired by Breaking Bad'
Ten must-see French gems you probably never thought of visiting
Is it time for France to force Britain to move border back across Channel?
Is romance in France just a "heterosexual concept"?
Can YOU pronounce these ten French town names?
Dog buried alive sparks French social media fury
New plan to get shy French chatting on trains
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se