Have your say on how airlines treat passengers with disabilities

By Lisa James
25/04/2023
Home » Have your say on how airlines treat passengers with disabilities

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a consultation on plans to assess airlines on how well they serve disabled and less mobile customers.

The CAA wants to hear from passengers and people in the travel industry so it can rank airlines according to their performance on dealing with passengers who need assistance.

Under the proposed framework, airlines will be ranked on their service, from booking flight tickets and assistance at the airport, through to their onboard experience and complaints handling.

Ratings would include consideration of access around requesting assistance, onboard facilities including seating and toilets, as well as boarding and disembarking.

It will also set standards for bringing assistance dogs onto flights, along with providing guidance on how airlines should handle mobility equipment and providing compensation when it is lost or damaged.

The plan follows the introduction of a similar framework for airports in 2014, which has driven airports to spend millions of pounds improving experiences for passengers with reduced mobility.

CAA Head of Consumer Anna Bowles said: “Our proposals to introduce this new framework are about holding airlines to account in meeting their obligations to disabled and less mobile passengers across all aspects of their journey.

“Consumers should have confidence that the standard of support they receive when flying will meet their needs.

“Assessing airlines against a standardised framework will ensure that disabled and less mobile passengers will be better informed when they choose which airline to fly with, and will highlight areas where airlines need to do better.

“To make the framework as effective as possible, we’re asking for feedback from individuals, disability rights groups and the industry to help shape our plans.”

The plans have been welcomed by disability groups including Able Move Founder and Director Josh Wintersgill, who said: “This consultation is a great opportunity for people to share their constructive feedback to help influence and shape the framework further.

“A tremendous amount of work has gone into it thus far, and the framework is very much welcomed.

“Whilst only guidance, it is hoped it would enable the CAA to better monitor airline performance and hold airlines to greater public accountability just like UK airports are today, which has shown improvements, but perhaps not at the pace which people expect.”

The consultation launches today and runs until 21 July 2023.

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