Court tells DGCA not to allow travel agents to sell tickets if their websites aren't accessible to persons with disabilities
The court of the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities passed the order during a recent hearing on a complaint that brought to light three critical issues regarding accessibility for persons with disabilities in the aviation sector.
The court of the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has asked civil aviation regulator DGCA to not allow travel agents to sell flight tickets if they fail to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities (PwD).
The court passed the order during a recent hearing on a complaint that brought to light three critical issues regarding accessibility for PwD in the aviation sector.
Websites of airlines and travel agents do not comply with accessibility guidelines, as mandated by the DGCA's 2014 instructions. The lack of conformity makes it impossible for individuals with total blindness to independently book tickets, a fundamental hindrance to their travel autonomy, the complainant said.
Furthermore, the complainant said that call centres and training staff have not been made aware of the assistance code required for passengers with disabilities.
This oversight, coupled with the limited options available in online reservation forms, creates a scenario where individuals often struggle to secure necessary assistance.
The third issue highlighted by the complainant was web check-in limitations for passengers with disabilities.
Passengers with disabilities are not allowed to check in online, citing concerns related to emergency seat allocation, the complainant said.
CCPD Rajesh Aggarwal said these concerns fall within the framework of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and various judicial decisions.
The CCPD directed the DGCA to take decisive action, saying, "If travel agents fail to make their websites accessible, the DGCA shall not allow them to sell air tickets in the country."
Additionally, it asked the DGCA to fine airlines and travel agents for non-compliance of its instructions and submit an action taken report within three months.
The court also asked the aviation regulator to address web check-in limitations by allowing passengers with disabilities to indicate special assistance during booking akin to wheelchair reservations.
Edited by Swetha Kannan