Purpose of the report
As part of our commitment to improving the experiences of disabled passengers at airports, we set out to:
- examine how disabled people feel about the passenger assistance service provided at airports
- understand exactly what the service user needed, and
- identify new ideas to help improve the passenger assistance service.
Findings of the report
The findings of the report indicated a number of challenges which lead to disabled people being more unlikely to fly compared to non-disabled people, including:
- many passengers not pre-booking PRM services in advance, leading to a strain on resources and staffing
- inconsistency in access provision, making it difficult for passengers to understand what to expect
- confusion as to who is responsible for providing assistance services, resulting in potential reputational damage to airlines in the minds of passengers who believe the airline is providing the service
- mixed feelings towards the designated waiting areas for disabled passengers and lack of access to other services including shops, restaurants and washroom facilities
- concerns over care of electric mobility aids (EMAs), with lack of communication leading to EMAs being transported to the wrong location or damaged in transit, and
- lack of detailed knowledge of hidden disabilities.
However, it also highlighted some very positive findings from passengers who pre-booked assistance reporting improvements over recent years and an increased satisfaction with the service.
The report generated a number of recommendations to improve the overall customer experience. Its purpose is to push the Challenge for Change agenda forward and encourage the whole aviation industry to work together to address this.
We have begun this process by tackling a number of issues and implementing a series of changes that have directly and positively impacted on the passenger experience. We want to continue to improve the whole air travel experience for disabled passengers, and encourage more to have the confidence to fly.