The Swiss president, Doris Leuthard, has announced that Switzerland will be allowing women in middle-aged to over-70, and men over 80, to fly abroad freely without having to apply for a passport, replace lost or missing documents, or prove they are physically fit to fly.
The regulation, known as the airport travel extension, usually applies to those with medical problems, such as heart and lung disease, that prevents them from flying on their own. But under the new regulation, anyone with a valid passport can travel with their spouse, parents or even a grandchild or great-grandchild.
Leuthard said that the regulation would begin this month, and would be in force for up to 20 years, in order to end what she said was “intolerable discrimination.”
The decision has been hailed as an exceptional act of domestic reform by pro-feminist group Une Femme Parise a la République, who say it will allow women to travel across Europe’s main airports without having to pay for luxury trips across Eurotunnel, for example. Swiss citizens will be able to travel between their home country and other European destinations, for up to 13 days per trip, without needing to surrender travel insurance of up to $2,200.
Another women’s group has said it will now require all Swiss women to prove that they can fly without a passport.