Air Travel For Persons With Disabilities

Empty disabled seats at an airport in the waiting area before boarding.

One of the principles shared with a convincing belief among those who work within aviation is to support the rights of people with disabilities. Likewise, in all the years that I have served in the industry, I have yet to come across any organization or agency who did not believe that everyone should have equal access to air travel.

I can say with a strong awareness and confidence that irrespective of what their own role or interest, aviation employees always deliver and provide quality of service to people with physical disabilities and to those who experience an impairment. Undoubtedly, a framework of regulations and other relevant mandatory instructions are essential for two reasons. First, protocols safeguard against possible discriminations. Second, guidelines ensure that all stakeholders and service providers can operate with uniformity and per same values. However, generally speaking, among people whom work in aviation, regardless of rules there is a genuine commitment to act responsibly towards individuals who need care.  

It is extremely difficult and challenging for airlines, airports and all other associated service providers to deal with the range of issues related to accessibility for passengers with physical disability or those who are impaired.  Infrastructure, facilities, screening, transportation and convenience are few in a myriad of features that must be appropriately adapted to accommodate travellers with special needs. The design and application for each of these elements is critical. Otherwise, it will be difficult to achieve the best in customer experience.

Over the past few years, we have seen great improvements in air travel for passengers with a disability and for those who need care. In my opinion, all organizations and companies within the industry now strive to provide the best. In fact, I would dare to say that most of them actually endeavour to deliver outstanding service when it comes to support customers with disability needs.

More people with disabilities will be travelling by air in the future

Undeniably, there is a lot that we can do especially when we consider projections, which indicate the aviation sector will grow further over the years. Subsequently, that means more people with disabilities will be travelling by air in the future. For this reason alone, I believe that we should embark on improvements in two distinct areas of the business. Firstly, we must reconsider the layout and arrangements at the kerbside – for all terminal buildings – thus, to enhance facilities for arriving and departing passengers. Secondly, concentrate on developments related to aircraft accessibility including the redesign of aircraft interiors to offer more user-friendly arrangements.  

In conclusion, it is very important that all strategic players and business partners within the industry remain active and alert to be able to serve passengers with disabilities and impairments effectively. My view is that complacency often is precarious and leads to quality of service dropping. Having achieved so much over the years in this field of our business, we must continue with the same level of attentiveness and responsibility if we are to ensure that the equal right to access air travel is not just a pretentious act.

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