New guidelines issued on assisting disabled travellers

New guidelines issued on assisting disabled travellers

New guidelines have been drawn up to help improve the use of airports by disabled travellers.

Curent levels of assistance vary significantly across airlines and on specific routes, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

There are also problems with the accuracy of the information that is collected and transferred and this impacts on the airports’ ability to plan resources accordingly.

The guidance for supporting passengers with reduced mobility was drafted by the CAA in conjunction with Abta and developed by an industry group including airlines, airports, agents, operators and an independent disability representative.

The aim is to give information and advice for travel companies and airports on how to provide the optimal experience for passengers who require assistance.

The key focus is pre-notification which is seen as essential to help ensure airports put the right resources in place at the right time to provide assistance to people with reduced mobility.

The guidelines cover what should happen during the booking process, after the booking has been made and at the airport.  They include the Iata codes commonly used to transmit information about the specific assistance required.

Abta head of destinations and sustainability Nikki White said: “It can be deeply distressing for passengers to arrive at the airport and not have access to the assistance they require.

“By working together we have been able to develop practical guidelines that will help ensure a smooth and seamless experience for passengers with reduced mobility, from collecting the right information at booking to ensuring the resources are in place when they arrive at the airport.”

CAA consumer support director Sandra Webber said: “Travelling if you have restricted mobility can be especially challenging and stressful without good planning and effective processes from airlines and agents.

“The CAA believes that pre-notification is the key to airports and airlines providing people with restricted mobility the assistance that best suits their needs.

“We think that this guidance will help travel companies and airports in ensuring that people with restricted mobility pre-notify their assistance needs to their travel company or airline, with a view to helping to ensure the airports provide appropriate assistance.”

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