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Help improve the way airports deal with disabled people

nigel_dta Member Posts: 4
edited November 2014 in Research and opportunities
Hello All
I have just been appointed as Disability Traveller Advocate with Omniserv Ltd. We provide the service that enables people with a disability or restricted mobility, to be able to get on and off airplanes. My job is to improve the quality of service our customers receive. As a wheelchair user myself I know some of the frustrations that can occur when things go wrong!
One of my aims is to improve communication with you, our customers; to this end I will be holding a number of customer feedback forums. I will be doing this in a number of ways including Informal meetings, Questionnaires, Telephone interviews, and Internet forums.
I would really appreciate it if anyone who is interested in improving airport services for disabled people, to get in touch with me.
I look forward to hearing from you,

Nigel Brown
Disability Traveller Advocate


  • SuzieJones
    SuzieJones Member Posts: 1
    Hi Nigel, I'd be most delighted to help give you a perspective from a deaf user's eye view... both BSL and non-BSL. You can get in touch with me on my website Best wishes
  • LauraBaron83
    LauraBaron83 Member Posts: 1
    Hi Nigel,

    I have a 7 year old son with cerebal palsy and visual impairment and as my mum lives in America i often travel with him. Id be happy to help.
  • nigel_dta
    nigel_dta Member Posts: 4
    I have setup a provisional date for our first forum, it will be on Wednesday 8th June from 10 am until 4pm. It will be at Heathrow Airport ideal for anyone living in London or the South East. Please contact me for more details as this represents an ideal opportunity to give your opinions directly to Heathrow Airport and British Airways.
  • Cris_Chard
    Cris_Chard Member Posts: 1
    Hello Nigel,
    I am the mother of 2 and a half year old twins one of which has cerebral palsy.
    I always thought that airport assistance for disable people was good until yesterday, when I came back from a few days holidays in Spain.
    The problems started when I wanted to book assistance for my 2 and a half year old son and realized that the airlines and airports don't have a tick box for disabled children on prams, only for people on wheelchairs. So I phoned the Easyjet and both Bristol and Madrid airport to explain the situation in order to get the assistance.
    The first thing they told me is that they don't push prams or childrens pushchairs and and I had to remind them that a 2 and a half year old boy is not a baby and is quite heavy to carry around and needs the same assistance as an adult on a wheelchair.
    The second problem happened when we arrived at Madrid airport and had to wait half an hour on the plain for the assistance to come because they have reduced the number of people providing the service due to economic constrains.
    But the worst thing happened when we came back, and despite the fact that I requested assistance in advance and had someone with me at the gate and the stewardesses boarding the plane made us wait because all disabled people board last at Madrid airport, when we arrived at the plain the head of the cabin crew told me that they didn't have special seats reserved for us (there was an elderly gentleman on wheelchair that had reserved seat) because nobody had told them about us,and that we were lucky that the plain wasn't too full and had seats available at the rear.
    Nobody apologysed, and when we arrived at Bristol airport although the gentleman on wheelchair had assistance I had to go down the stairs of the plain on my own with my disabled son in one arm, my hand luggage bag on the other shoulder and my twin daughter on this hand.
    Luckily for me when we boarded the bus to take us to the terminal the rest of the passangers felt sorry for us and helped us to the terminal.
    I don't know if it is common practice to discriminate disable children in favor of adults on wheelchairs because the airlines and airports assume that the parents can carry them all the way, but I would like some feedback comments, please.

    Cristina Vila
  • Ron-1
    Ron-1 Member Posts: 3
    Dear Nigel

    I have been reading with interest your appeal on improving support for disabled passengers at airports. As a flyer myself overseas I have made an excellent input that one airline supports supporting their disabled passengers. But as you are aware once we pass passport control we are in the hands of the country we are flying too.

    My families experience is that we have some real very bad understanding that on request I booked a seat near the bathroom facilities and other passengers not having the care in the world that we have a disability and climing all over us just to get off the plane first.

    At this point the Air Stewardess had seen this happen and made sure not only the passenger had to wait for all passengers to alight from the plane and had clearly informed the passenger of my own disabilty needs that I required assistance to tranfer to the aisle plane wheelchair to my own wheelchair.

    After that the passenger was asked to apologise, which of course they refused, in its place I was verbuly abused in unchosen words, how nice!

    I would welcome to be part of any communication group that you intent to set up, please contact me on (*email address removed as against forum rules*)
    Thank you
  • mafala
    mafala Member Posts: 71 Listener
    Dear Cristina,
    I totally sympathise with you. We used to have a terrible time flying with our son when he was still in his special needs buggy. They used to refuse to hand it to us at the gate at Copenhagen Airport, where we fly to frequently. My son was always big for his age and I remember trying to carry him and the hand luggage to arrivals in tears. I had told the ground crew that my son couldn't walk where one guy thought he was being funny and replied that my son could probably do with the exercise!. It used to be a nightmare travelling with the buggy until he got his wheelchair age 3. Now we very rarely have a problem as the wheelchair very clearly defines my son as 'disabled'. My son's wheelchair was a godsend in many ways :-)
  • KatieR2
    KatieR2 Member Posts: 28

    im thinking of declaring myself as part of a race called the disabled. I should claim that people are breaking the law if I am insulted or denied access to something. I don't know if I have the energy with the M.E. but that is what I would like to do,

    thanks Katie
  • nigel_dta
    nigel_dta Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for all your comments, I have been away ill for quite a while. I will be contacting each of you shortly.
  • visio
    visio Member Posts: 1
    People are not doing well with disable persons now a days.
  • r3zen
    r3zen Member Posts: 1
    I totally agree, i see it everyday. Its frustrating!!
  • bor0103
    bor0103 Member Posts: 1
    I Want to help how can i help


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