Do you qualify for free airfare? Well, if you’re traveling with a disabled passenger on a domestic route within Canada, you might. Thanks to the new One-Person One-Fare rule that went into effect on January 10, 2009, passengers with “severe disabilities” may be eligible for free attendant airfare.
Who exactly qualifies as a person with a severe disability? Well, according to the airlines, it’s someone who requires assistance with their in-flight personal care or safety, “as required by the carriers’ domestic tariffs”. It does not include anyone who prefers to travel with a companion or those passengers who only require attendant care at their destinations.
The catch is, the airlines are in charge of determining eligibility. For the time being it appears as only quadriplegics are eligible, but to be honest, it doesn’t hurt to apply. It’s a new program and you never know how things will go.
If you want to give it a try, contact the airline (Air Canada or Westjet) to obtain the correct medical certification forms, then have your doctor fill them out. The airline medical department will determine if you make the cut; and if you do, they’ll send you an authorization code. Then, just call the airline and give them the authorization code and your booking number to request your free attendant seat.
And the good news is, disabled passengers only have to go through the screening process once. Once you’re cleared, you’re good to go on all future flights. All arrangements must be made at least 48 hours in advance; and passengers will be charged the applicable taxes and user fees for the free seat.
Still it’s a good deal, so check it out if you have any domestic Canadian flights in your future. More information about the application procedures can be found on the airline websites in the “special needs” or “disabled passenger” section.