Jess Latham Final year Law student at Staffordshire University.
Ministers say air travel could become easier for disabled passengers if a new charter for airlines and airports is adopted.
Disabled flyers have long complained of difficulties with access on planes and in airports. They have called for better trained airline staff and baggage handlers.
The charter aims to allow people to take their own wheelchairs into aircraft cabins.
It is clear that change is needed. More than 57% of passengers with a disability say that they find the airport process distressing and difficult, according to a survey by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Chris Wood, from Campaign Group Flying Disabled expressed that this is a step in the right direction. He went on to say:
‘’My aspiration is to have people flying in their own wheelchairs to a destination within two years and it looks as if the UK could lead the way in making this happen’’.
Last year saw shocking scenes of a paraplegic athlete dragging himself along the floor of Luton Airport after his wheelchair was left behind on a flight.
The changes will be welcomed by disabled people, however, the issue of how the government will work around the Montreal Convention is questionable. One difficulty that the government face is how much disabled passengers will be reimbursed for lost or broken wheelchairs.
No date has been set to see these measures implemented, however some airlines are already trying to make things easier. Gatwick has implemented changes to improve the experience of disabled flyers. One airport lounge has specifically been designed for passengers with a variety of disabilities. Staff have also been given specialist training.
The government says that the policy will be finalised next year. Much needed changes will be welcomed so that everyone has an equal opportunity to fly.
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