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EasyJet fined in France over disabled passenger

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EasyJet fined in France over disabled passenger
A French court fined easyJet for discriminating against a partially-paralyzed passenger. Photo: Aero Icarus/Flickr
17:41 CEST+02:00
British low cost carrier easyJet was hit with a €60,000 fine for refusing to let a mobility-impaired passenger get on a flight to attend her son's funeral. It's the second time since February the company's been penalized for the same sort of discrimination.

A French court Thursday fined British budget airline easyJet €60,000 (over $80,000) for refusing to let a partially paralyzed woman fly unaccompanied to her son's funeral.

The fine for discrimination is the second one of this type slapped on the airline this year in France. In February, the carrier was fined €50,000 for having forced a disabled woman off a flight.

The airline has argued that it acted for safety reasons, and in compliance with British and European laws.

The court in the Paris suburb of Bobigny also handed out a €30,000-euro fine to Europe Handling, a company hired by easyJet to carry out passenger registrations and check-ins at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

The complainant, a 65-year-old woman who is paralyzed on one side, was prevented by easyJet from travelling from Paris to Portugal in October 2009 because she was unaccompanied.

She then bought a ticket with another airline and made it to the funeral and filed a suit for discrimination upon her return.

In the other case, easyJet was fined for forcing a woman in wheelchair off a Paris-Nice flight in March 2010 on the same grounds.

Cabin crew had told the 39-year-old that she could not travel alone because she could not reach an emergency exit without assistance.

These are not the first cases in which EasyJet has been taken to court over allegations of discrimination.

In January 2012, a French court fined the airline €70,000 for refusing to allow three wheelchair users to board its planes between November 2008 and January 2009, in what a lawyer for the plaintiffs said was a "landmark ruling".

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