Disabled Passengers – Which Airlines Take Best Care of Them

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Biz Traveler NYC 4 Apr 2018
at 19:50
.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

  • JonathanCohen09
    Participant

    Good afternoon all.

    This is an area that I have recently seen a lot of negative publicity on with regards to the way that certain airlines treat passengers with varying degrees of disability who nevertheless are able to fly either on their own or with carers.

    I have chosen not to post links about specific airlines as I do not want it to turn into one of those threads that relentlessly beats up one or two airlines and rather than focus on the bad I am hoping that this thread can bring out the good by giving details of carriers who are good at and go the extra mile for disabled passengers?

    From some of the reading I have done it seems to me that some carriers go out of their way to make things difficult enough that you would think that they would prefer not to carry those passengers.

    I look forward to reading the comments of my fellow posters as I value your input on what is an important topic.

    Safe travel,
    JC


    esselle
    Participant

    Whilst this is not something which impacts me personally, it is clearly a very big problem for those who rely on this type of service.

    Reading Frank Gardner’s comments over the weekend, and listening to JHK being interviewed on the radio did, though, prompt me to think about it. The unanswered question in my mind currently is where does the responsibility lie?

    Is it the airline(very probably), the ground handler(very probably), or the airport operator(unlikely)?

    I’m not sure that the carrier that created the most recent problem for Mr Gardner was named, but I think it essential that responsibility for eg getting a wheelchair to the gate is clearly established as this, in itself, will help minimise the frequency with which such unfortunate events occur.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I’m not sure that the carrier that created the most recent problem for Mr Gardner was named

    I believe I read that it was Ethiopian. If I’m wrong I trust that a moderator will feel free to remove this comment.

    As for responsibility, when I worked for airlines we were almost completely reliant on the handling agent, so the airline is not necessarily to blame.


    Scotishtaffy
    Participant

    I have to say that I have used three airlines in recent months, British Airways from Glasgow to London Heathrow, I was able to checked in at the business class counter and escorted to the gate and boarded first. From terminal 5 my wife and I had a mini bus takes us to terminal 2 for our connection.
    All Nippon Airways from Heathrow to Haneda and then Japan Airlines from Haneda to Sapporo. They were absolutely spot on. I am a wheel chair user, I’m unable to walk long distances. ANA checked us in at the first class counter, I was collected by assistance and taken straight to the gate and boarded first. The crew could not be anymore helpful and kept checking on me during the flight. On arrival I was escorted by a member of the crew to the front of the aircraft and waiting for me was assistance and they took me into the terminal buuilding and received by own chair. As is the case with Japan Airlines I was wheeled into the cabin, we were flying First Class, but I have never received should excellent service and friendlier cabin crew from all three airlines. I look forward to my trip to Montreal from Glasgow with BA and my flight to Toronto with AC in June.


    Nogbad01
    Participant

    I was very impressed with Easyjet a couple of years ago, who had a large group of people with varying degrees of disability on the same flight. The crew were very helpful and respectful to everybody and it seemed this was genuine.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Whilst this is not something which impacts me personally, it is clearly a very big problem for those who rely on this type of service.

    Reading Frank Gardner’s comments over the weekend, and listening to JHK being interviewed on the radio did, though, prompt me to think about it. The unanswered question in my mind currently is where does the responsibility lie?

    Is it the airline(very probably), the ground handler(very probably), or the airport operator(unlikely)?

    I’m not sure that the carrier that created the most recent problem for Mr Gardner was named, but I think it essential that responsibility for eg getting a wheelchair to the gate is clearly established as this, in itself, will help minimise the frequency with which such unfortunate events occur.

    In the EU, the airport has been responsible for about 10 years, outside it is usually the airline.


    esselle
    Participant

    Hello FDOS-UK

    Yes, I get that but, say, you book BA GLA-LHR, and advise at the time of booking that you need wheelchair assist.

    Neither GLA nor LHR can be aware of this, as your contract is with BA.

    At GLA you check in and are given assist to the aircraft. You fly down to LHR and are then stranded on the aircraft as nobody has got your chair.

    Is this BA or HAL?

    I thought JHK handled his interview very well indeed, but am not sure Cruz would have been so accepting.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    esselle

    It is Omniserve (HAL’s contractor), so ultimately HAL.

    BA only sends the request.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I am a huge fan of easyJet but am sorry to see that in the last couple of days they have been blamed for two failures in handling WCHR passengers, whereas in all likelihood it’s the ground handling agents who are guilty.


    DNAdams
    Participant

    My husband is severely sight impaired and our experience has been very poor with Easyjet. They expect us to pay for our seat allocations if we want to guarantee that we sit together. We cannot use the free seat allocation at check in as there is a risk that we are not sitting together which is not acceptable or safe for someone with less than 10% sight. This means that the experience can be very different for someone with a disability than without. They also make the boarding scrum very stressful as they often do not pre-board or acknowledge passengers needing special assistance.

    Surprisingly, BA perform much better at this. They allow us to choose seats free of charge at the time of booking and are very attentive on board especially if your BAEC profile shows special requirements. Most of the time they also personally ensure my husband is aware of and location of exits, seat belt, life jacket etc without asking, something Easyjet has never done.


    bmj
    Participant

    In the EU it is the responsibility of the airport operator to cater for disabled passengers. There is liaison with airlines who act as intermediary and gather and forward information to the nominated operative for the airport.

    At Heathrow it is BAA Limited who outsource the activity to Omniserve. Bluntly in my experience they are incompetent and totally disorganised.

    I do not know if it is the fault of management, a lack of staff and/or equipment, or inadequate funding from BAA Limited to undertake the tasks. Having completed all the protocols for arrival at Terminal 5 and departure from Terminal 3 (BA in both cases) we were not met from the aircraft, left waiting in a passage, ignored and generally sidelined. We arrived at T5 at 5:59 am but did not reach the departures lounge in T3 until 9:44 am. I wondered if the clocks had sprung forward whilst in transit but on checking I realised that BST had started 2 days earlier.

    BA were extremely sympathetic but said that there was nothing that they could do other than file a report. In this instance, and probably on most other occasions it is not the airline that is at fault. They are a hostage to fortune and without some considerable effort are not able to make adequate representations to the airport operator and the service provider.

    Brian Jones


    Biz Traveler NYC
    Participant

    I am a frequent flyer and a business traveler with disability – hearing impairtment (Deaf). I work for a financial company. I already flew more than 500,000 miles.

    Let me share the truth about airlines that I experienced and learned so far regardless business class or economy class (main cabin). The point is about best care and good service for passengers with disabilities. If you have noticed any issue with their service or wrong approach for passengers with disabilities, you can contact airliners that they may need to hire a professional trainer Air Business Academy in order to train their employees, crew members, and staff members how to care and serve passengers with disabilities with right approach and good quality in airport and on board (inflight). I posted the list of airlines based on the results that I flew more than 500,000 miles.

    Within Europe:

    Best airlines for passengers with disabilities
    1. Aegean Airlines
    2. SAS
    3. KLM
    4. Austrian
    5. Aeroflot

    Worst airlines for passengers with disabilities:
    1. Vueling
    2. Iberia
    3. EasyJet
    4. Ryanair
    5. Norwegian
    6. Wizz
    7. TAP Portugal
    8. Smart Wings
    9. German Wings
    10. Aer Lingus

    Travel from Europe to/from North America:
    Best airlines for passengers with disabilities
    1. Virgin Atlantic
    2. KLM
    3. SAS
    4. Austrian Airlines
    5. Delta Airlines

    Worst airlines for passengers with disabilities:
    1. United Airlines
    2. Norwegian
    3. American
    4. Aer Lingus
    5. Iberia

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