The 2015/2016 CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) was recently released to the public, highlighting the current level of accessibility of the UK’s busiest airports. Over 30 of the UK’s main airports were assessed on the level and quality of assistance given to their customers with reduced mobility. The report highlighted that an impressive 85% of passengers were satisfied with the assistance they have been given when traveling. So how exactly are airports catering to their disabled passengers? There are plenty of wheelchair accessible places to visit in England and in the UK so it’s important that UK’s airports are taking action.
One of the main points airports try and strive to improve on, and what the CAA look at first, is the amount of time passengers have to wait around for assistance. Larger airports such as Heathrow and Manchester have dedicated points after departing the plane where those needing assistance can wait. Each airport has their own ‘waiting time’ goals, which so far, the majority has managed to meet. Providing faster assistance is paramount, especially if you need to get from one side of the airport to the other for a connecting flight or even to just get to your gate on time. It’s these kind of things that those without reduced mobility take for granted. A simple thing like being able to get to your gate in advance can help to alleviate the overall stress of traveling.
Airports are also encouraged to regularly liaise with disabled organizations to keep up to date with new and improved practices, which ensures they are always providing the absolute best quality assistance possible. The organizations are also invited to give consultation on areas that the airport could make improvements, ensuring that a more qualified pair of eyes are helping to keep assistance up to the CAA’s high standards. Out of the 30 airports assessed, 17 received a rating of ‘very good’ or ‘good’, with 12 sites ready to make improvements in order to provide better quality assistance. When it comes to providing top quality care to disabled passengers, it really is the little things that matter. Things like making sure they are able to reach their gate on time, that the airport has relevant mobility aids such as travel chairs and are treated with the same attention and respect as other passengers all create a stress free and convenient travel experience.
Photographer Freia Turland firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel should be an activity that is accessible to everyone, despite reduced mobility, if someone wants to get out and see the world, there should be nothing to stop them doing so. Having the CAA pushing airports to provide better services for its disabled passengers means that travel becomes a more pleasant experience for everyone. It ensures that nobody is incapable of exploring the world and something as simple as getting on and off a plane is just that, simple and easy to do.
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