More training should be given to airport and airline staff to improve their ability to deal with disabled passengers, according to the British Council of Disabled People (BCDP).
The group, which was established in 1981 to represent disabled people, points out that disabled passengers often have problems when flying because many aviation workers lack a good understanding of disability issues.
Frontline staff should be given training so they are aware of the problems that may arise, according to Janet Seymour Kirk, deputy chair internal of the BCDP.
“We’re not expecting them to go for a medical degree to find out which how each [disability] can be coped with, but what they don’t seem to want to do is listen to the disabled people, because they tend to think they’ll come out with a long list of things they need them to do,” she said.
However training will make it easier for staff as well as disabled passengers, she pointed out.
Other issues that airlines should look at include improving the accessibility of toilets on planes, and ensuring that wheelchairs do not get damaged in transit.
The group’s comments come soon after a new EU law was introduced, meaning that airlines will no longer be able to prevent elderly or disabled passengers from flying within the European Union from July next year.