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Christmas plans ruined by discrimination


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Hello,

 

I have an Autism Spectrum Condition (Aspergers), I'm high functioning and perfectly fit physically. However, I have just been asked for a "fitness to travel" letter from my GP before Hurtigruten will accept my booking. They would not usually ask such a thing - I know, I have travelled with them twice before - but said it was due to the rigours of the journey!

 

I have no physical difficulties whatsoever and they only came up with this demand two days before I planned to travel. Now my Christmas plans are ruined.

 

Is this discrimination?

Any suggestions? Thank you, M

Edited by Missy Brindello
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Discrimination? No. More like an over-zealous risk-assessment policy, and it does appear to be covered in the T&Cs. Depending on exactly when you made the booking though it does seem unreasonable for them to request this so close to departure.

 

The question I suppose has to be how and why they were aware of your condition. I note having just looked at the booking arrangements online that there appears to be no obvious area where conditions need to be disclosed - just the T&Cs - so how did they come to believe that they needed clarification of your fitness to travel?

 

The only obvious suggestion is to plead with your GP for his urgent attention in providing a fitness to travel letter and to get that faxed or scanned/emailed across tomorrow

 

I hope you manage to do so as I think without that you are unlikely to force them to change their position before the trip starts

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Thank you for your contribution but given that I have traveled with them previously - and I've always had an autism spectrum condition - which is not a physical disability (as their t&c specify) - I don't see their need for this kind of information, this time. The reason they found out is that I normally drive and then use a pet friendly cabin but this time I was flying with a registered assistance dog.

 

Last time I went, there were loads of very old people, some with cancer, some who could barely walk. I just want to know if they were required to get letters too. I have never been asked for such a letter and I travel a lot. I missed my departure because there is no way I could get my GP to write a letter like that with 24 hours notice. I am young and fit and don't see why they insisted upon this letter on this occasion??

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I fully appreciate 2 days not much time due to there maladministration but lets at least try and save your holiday first.

 

1. First thing contact Dr's Surgery and explain as you have hear what has happened and if they would be able to rush through a Fitness to Travel letter (bear in mind they may charge a cost for the letter)

 

2. Contact the company and explain when you got the their letter requesting fit to travel on xx/xx/xxxx with 2 days before travel you can obtain the letter but how do you get it to them on time? would they allow it to be emailed to them and to what email address or faxed to them and fax number.

 

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Unfortunately I have already missed my planned departure date Stu, and also the opportunity to make other plans.

 

Before I ask Hurtigruten why they are being so picky (on this occasion) I thought I'd try to find out if treating me so differently from other passengers constituted discrimination. The equality and human rights web page seems to suggest so - but I'm not an expert.

 

It's frustrating as in the letter they sent insisting on a fitness to travel letter they also explain that my pet will need a passport and to be up to date with her vaccinations in order to travel. I know she needs a passport (as do I!) I am not intellectually impaired either.

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I think that giving you such little notice is appalling however are you jumping to conclusions in thinking that these older people are being allowed to travel without a fitness to travel letter?

 

Just as you have a right to privacy i.e they have no right to know your personal details , they also have a right to privacy.

 

For many people , having cancer is just a chronic condition that in reality won't kill them or generally hamper their quality of life .

.

 

I don't mean to sound harsh , just putting across an alternative perspective. I suspect that when they see the words assistance dog they do wonder what the dog is there to assist with and someone somewhere will have decided that anyone with an assistance animal will need a fitness to travel certificate

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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The reason I know is I have travelled with Hurtigruten before and neither me, my husband (who had cancer) or the elderly people we shared a table with had been asked for a note. I'm 55 and have never been asked for a fitness to travel letter by anyone - aspergers is difficulty with social communication rather than a physical thing.

 

Anyway, thank you all for your imput: it sounds like I will just have to let this go and not attempt to travel with hurtigruten again... I guess last night I was just upset that I would spend Christmas alone but the consensus seems to be against there being any discrimination.

 

Thanks all :)

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I do think you have grounds for a complaint. I imagine it will hinge on when you told them you were taking a dog with you.

Personally I don't like their terms when the demand a woman up to 23 weeks pregnant to provide a fitness to travel letter.

Maybe as well, as aspergers is not a one size fits all diagnosis it affects people differently. When you Google aspergers and assistance dogs it points in the direction of people having rages. Poor quality information on tinternet I am afraid

Really sorry Christmas is spoiled.

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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But Aspergers affects everyone differently. So from their point of view, they probably do need to know whether you are fit to travel. And there will be some people with cancer (depending on the type who are asked if they are fit to travel. The fact that you have an assistance dog, to them, is probably enough for them to ask whether you can travel.

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Thanks Fletch. They knew all along that I had a dog as I'd reserved flights on the 29th Nov. They just kept changing their requirements so many times...

 

And yes, Aspergers affects people differently but is characterised by people who are intelligent (as opposed to"low functioning" types of autism) and, as I said previously, is not associated with ANY physical difficulties whatsoever. As I have travelled with them twice before they should know I'm up to sitting on a ferry.

 

Perhaps they thought my social difficulties might upset the other passengers ;-) I have been known to talk about my work too much. I'm a doctor (epidemiologist) and have lots of inappropriate body tales...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now Christmas is over I have replied to their letter which effectively denied me transport. Even if it's not discrimination I did ask - first on 30th November - for a list of cabin numbers you could have dogs in (these are easier to book on other ferry sites) and several times since. They have not replied and I still don't have this list - there are only about 12 so it's not a hurculean task to send one out. If they had asked for a fitness to travel letter on the 30th November I would have been able to provide one.

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