One person who might miss the conference is David Adams, the EGDF President because yesterday EasyJet refused him boarding with his guide dog Zoey. Zoey is perhaps one of thee widely-travelled and well-documented guide dogs in Europe and David knows the rules as well as anyyone. David was told tha Zoey's documentation was not complete although it was the same as he had used 100s of previous times.
I was acting as David’s sighted guide and am also the conference organiser so could not afford to miss the flight. I had to leave him standing at the gate with only his guide dog, passport, phone and a £10 note in his pocket.
EasyJet have acknowledged their mistake and tried to help by sending David by taxi to Heathrow airport and putting him up for the night and trying to arrange another flight, but all flights to Ljubljana today already have a delegate with one guide dog -- the maximum these airlines will take. David ha managed to find a friend to go to London to take his dog so he can fly unaccompanied -- the only possibility left to him.
EGDF knows that things like this happen every day to guide dog users. Combating all kinds of discrimination against guide dogs is one of the main themes running through our conference. This is a particularly pernicious type of discrimination – rules and procedures by one company that unexpectedly create new and previously unheard of barriers.
We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that guide dog owners have the freedom of movement that is guaranteed to all European citizens.