Airlines are focusing on making the travel experience accessible to everyone – from offering IFE for visually impaired travelers to hosting mock travel experiences for children with autism. British Airways’ latest initiative, in partnership with the UK DfT, aims to make travel easier for the airline’s customers with disabilities, which amount to more than half a million per year.
British Airways (BA) is partnering with the UK government to help make travel easier for people with disabilities. It’s the first airline to take part in the Department for Transport’s “It’s Everyone’s Journey” initiative, which seeks to create a more considerate travel environment across various methods of transportation, including air, rail, and bus.
The initiative raises awareness about disabilities such as autism, which are sometimes overlooked by accessibility schemes. To address this, BA launched Beyond Accessibility in January, a training program for almost 30,000 customer service agents. It promotes the concept of additional assistance over the passenger-with-restricted-mobility mindset, helping the airline better support passengers with a wider range of disabilities. According to a press release, since the program launched, the airline has reported a significant increase in customer satisfaction amongst disabled travelers.
“We know it can be difficult for customers with additional needs to travel and British Airways is committed to creating an environment that is inclusive.” – Carolina Martinoli, British Airways
In September, BA also created a dedicated phone line and customer care team for travelers with disabilities and has continued to work with accessibility experts to educate staff about both visible and invisible disabilities. BA’s dedication was recognized by Britain’s National Autistic Society in April, which gave BA The Autism Friendly Award — a first for any air carrier. Since then, the airline has produced a Visual Guide to Flying that explains the sights, sounds, smells and experiences customers may encounter during their travel journey and is intended to help people on the autism spectrum prepare for their flights.
“We are thrilled to be part of, and support, the Department for Transport’s ‘It’s everyone’s journey’ campaign. We know it can be difficult for customers with additional needs to travel and British Airways is committed to creating an environment that is inclusive and makes it easier for more than half a million disabled customers who travel with us each year,” said Carolina Martinoli, BA’s director of Brand and Customer Experience. The airline is calling on other carriers to follow its lead and join the campaign, which is part of the government’s inclusive transport strategy.