British Airways has launched a new independent panel aimed at “engaging with members of the community to improve the end-to-end experience for its customers with accessibility requirements”.

The Customer Access Advisory Panel is made up of individuals with both visible and non-visible disabilities, and will meet regularly to discuss and review new initiatives across a range of areas from IT solutions to airport and onboard experience.

The panel is being chaired by wheelchair user and accessible aviation consultant Mary Doyle, and also includes:

  • Behaviour change consultant and founder of UnseenAware Simon Houghton, who was born deaf
  • International CFO and frequent traveller Paul Hayman. Paul is autistic and finds air travel challenging, and is keen to help members of the neuro-diverse community by educating others
  • Dom Hyams, global client director at Purple Goat, the world’s first and only social-first inclusive marketing agency
  • Blind entrepreneur and accessibility advocate Neil Barnfather MBE
  • Jenny Berry, a content producer, wheelchair user and head of community at Sociability, an app that helps those with a disability find accessible places

BA said that the panel would play an important role in shaping improvements within the airline and “provide practical recommendations on best practices for inclusivity, informed by evidence and supported by lived experiences”.

The carrier recently partnered with Signcode, an organisation dedicated to ensuring equal access to information, products and services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

The partnership enables customers to access key travel information in signed video form, including BA’s onboard safety briefing.

BA partners with Signcode to improve accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers

Commenting on the news Xavier Mascarell, customer accessibility strategy manager at British Airways and founder of the Customer Access Advisory Panel, said:

“British Airways carries hundreds of thousands of customers who require additional assistance each year. We work hard to remove barriers and support customers with accessibility requirements throughout their journey but know there is more work to be done.

“The insights and recommendations we receive from our advisory panel members will be vital to improving our accessibility offering. We want to ensure a positive flying experience for everyone and we hope the learnings we gain through these meetings will drive further change.”

To read our recent feature on what is being done to improve accessibility for business travellers, see:

Accessible rights take flight