Yorkshire’s Hannah Cockroft is one of the country’s foremost athletes; a five-time Paralympic champion, ten-time world champion and proud MBE recipient. But she has also used her platform in the public eye to act as an advocate for disabled people and their rights; recently highlighting how many are unable to visit local shops because of accessibility issues.
She has again raised an important public issue facing disabled people after being told she would not be allowed on a flight without paying a £700 extra charge for her wheelchair, despite her travel agent getting prior permission for it to be allowed on.
Her latest comments come after she highlighted the poor design of Glasgow Airport’s toilets for disabled people, while BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner spoke earlier this year of being left waiting for nearly two hours on an empty plane after staff lost his wheelchair.
Such problems for disabled passengers are not just confined to air travel. One of the key issues surrounding the ongoing dispute over removing guards from trains is the question of how disabled and older people will safely be able to get on and disembark services if there are no customer service staff to help them.
Earlier this year, ministers also admitted that bus access needed to be improved for disabled users following a Supreme Court ruling relating to a case in Leeds where a woman refused to move a buggy out of the designated wheelchair area.
Discrimination against disabled people should not be happening in this day and age. But the sad reality is it is a daily occurrence.