An Icelandic husband and wife who are blind were twice prevented from boarding an SAS flight to Iceland after being told that they needed to pay for an escort to accompany them onboard. RÚV reports that the couple, who were traveling with their one-year-old daughter at the time, will be pursuing legal action against the airline.
Eyþór Kamban Þrastarson and Emilía Pykarinou had a flight booked from Athens, Greece to Copenhagen, Denmark, and then on to Iceland. However, when they tried to board the Scandinavian Airlines flight, they were denied entry. “The airline insisted that we be accompanied by another person,” explained Eyþór, who said that the couple was also supposed to pay for a third seat for this purpose. They tried to board another flight two days later but were prevented from boarding for the same reason. Eyþór believes that the fact that he and his wife were traveling with their young daughter played a part in the airline’s reluctance to allow them to board, but insisted that they’d have never booked the flight if they didn’t feel comfortable looking after their child while flying.
In the end, the Eyþór and Emilía were only able to board because, a week after they were supposed to have traveled home, they found an Icelandic woman who already had a ticket for the same flight and who agreed to act as their escort.
The couple intends to pursue legal action with both Blindrafélagið, the Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired, and the Icelandic consul in Greece, supporting their case. “This is by no means over,” said Eyþór, pointing out that the airline’s policy allows for children as young as five to travel unescorted. “We are in no way okay with the fact that we were ordered to find someone to fly with us, let alone pay for it.”