Airlines told to improve support for Disabled flyers

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered airports to set out by next week how they will improve services and support for Disabled people following recent, high-profile failures.

Disabled passengers have been left on aircraft for long periods after landing as the airports and airplanes industry struggles to recruit enough staff following the pandemic.  This has been made worse by a lot of flight cancellations and long delays.  

As well as needing assistance with wheelchairs and to get off their airplane, Disabled people are more likely to need support from airport liaison staff when flights are delayed.

In its letter to airports and airlines, the CAA says the recent “significant service failings” (experienced by some Disabled passengers) are “simply unacceptable”.

The CAA’s letter warns: 

“We will continue to closely monitor the quality of service provided and if these significant service failures continue, we will consider whether further action is needed, including using enforcement powers.”

The authority notes a recent increase in the percentage of passengers requesting the assistance service.

The letter said: 

“It is not clear what is causing this increase in demand for the assistance service, but through working with airlines, airports should ensure that support offered meets the particular need of each passenger, both to ensure that the assistance is appropriate but also to make the general operation more effective.”

Disabled people can let airlines and airports know in advance that they will need support and the CAA said that it will work with stakeholders to spread that message.

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