Wheelchair Access T3 Heathrow

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  IanFromHKG 4 Oct 2019
at 14:26
.

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

  • MartynSinclair
    Participant

    A new experience for me today & one that I felt very uncomfortable with….

    I was dropping a passenger off at T3 who needed a wheelchair, from drop off to check in and beyond. She was not travelling solo.

    Plenty of baggage trolleys in the drop off but no wheelchairs. I go to the airline desk who suggested the passenger walks into the terminal and goes to the third party company they outsource to, to get a wheel chair. I explained the passenger needs a wheelchair to get into the terminal.

    I go to the company ‘upstairs’ and they told me to it may take 15 minutes or so. I don’t have an issue with that, except the traffic wardens were trying to move me on from the drop off zone. I offered to get a chair so my passenger could sit on the kerbside waiting for her wheelchair – but was told to watch my attitude !!!!

    Not wishing to compare travellers who need wheelchairs to baggage, but why are there not any wheelchairs in the drop off zone – plenty of baggage carts though….???


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    This echoes quite precisely the experience I had in HKG after the Memsahib’s knee operation. We had prebooked wheelchair assistance through our airline, I had researched access for the disabled at the airport and determined that there were disability access points at particular entrances to the airport, and generally done everything I could to ensure it would all work seamlessly. So… we take a car to the airport, arrive at one of the designated doors, I go to the access point and press the intercom button for assistance, and some clueless idiot told me in broken English that – in essence – she wasn’t going to help. So I went in to the terminal to the information counter and was given basically the same information you received (actually, slightly worse) – that anyone wanting a wheelchair to get from the kerb to the check-in desks had to walk into the terminal, through the check-in area and beyond, go up to the offices, and then get the wheelchair that they needed to get there. This staggering display of idiocy incensed me so much that I wrote to the main English-language newspaper in HK explaining the experience, and shortly after my letter was published was contacted by the Airport Authority who apologised quite profusely and asked what they could do to improve matters – however, they apparently still won’t arrange wheelchairs to get you from the kerb to the check-in area. Rather, they recommended that when requesting wheelchair assistance through the airline (bear in mind that in HK, unlike the EU, provision of wheelchair assistance is by airlines not by the airport) that the passenger should specify that pick-up from the kerb is required. They did also say that they would put seating by the disabled access points so that disabled travellers can sit while waiting for assistance, and that they would improve the communication system so that the disabled access intercom staff will liaise with the airline to prompt the arrival of the wheelchair. I haven’t tested this since because, fortunately, the Memsahib is now self-mobile again. However, I hope I have made some small contribution to disabled access to the airport in HK!

    How all this would have worked – both in your case and in ours – had the passenger been unaccompanied tests my imagination.


    Gin&Tonic
    Participant

    Sorry to meant to hit the reply button not report.


    rferguson
    Participant

    The service provided for customers needing special assistance at LHR is abysmal. This is what happens when one company (who’s in business to make profit) is essentially granted a monopoly. What can a customer of them do? Threaten to go to a competitor?

    It really is bad. Of all the airports i’ve flown to anywhere in the world LHR is definitely the absolute worst in the timely handling of customers requiring wheelchair assistance.


    GreggyR
    Participant

    My wife & I took my elderly in-laws from LGW-Malaga for a short break a few weeks ago. We booked special assistance (for the first time) at both airports and it was very good indeed. From the South terminal dedicated drop-off right through to the departure gate, with a pause in the departure hall assistance area, it worked very well.
    I was sceptical of using the service, but it was so good we will take them away again.


    AircraftLover
    Participant

    I am sorry to read about your stressful and frustrating experience, at the LHR T3 drop-off zone.
    In my experience, passengers who need airport assistance, frequently receive poor service.
    This is not an LHR problem, it can happen at any airport.

    Some of the wheelchair assistance staff are caring and very professional.
    But, I am not sure if, around the world, the staff receive any training course.
    Sometimes the assistance arrives late, and the passenger does not make it, to the flight.


    Filbyemt
    Participant

    I thought there was a kerbside call button for wheelchair service at T3. So you do not have to leave the car by more than a few steps.


    Otte
    Participant

    Very true unfortunately.I flew MIA LHR TLV in Club,and needed a Wheelchair as I was after a car accident,where standing and walking for a long time was difficult.
    BA did not miss one opportunity NOT to deliver the service.They failed in MIA,they failed in LHR.I complaint ofcourse,but I must say I was impressed with their answer,as they really investigated it.
    unfortunately and so expected,every employee along the failed chain of service lied,so BA’s conclusion was that it all was my fault.In addition to my fault,it was also the fault of the 3rd party that provides the services to BA in LHR.
    BA Had no problem pocketing my thousands of dollars paid for the two tickets,but had a major problem to deliver efficient wheelchair service.Even admitting it was not an option to them as they are subject to a fine by the FAA.
    As a veteran of US carrier,30 years in passenger services at a few airports,I know the reasons for those failures:
    Savings.
    One or two agents meeting a full B747 with over 10 requests for assistance.One wheelchair is on display at the gate,but with all their good will, they can not provide an acceptable service with the ratio of employees meeting the aircraft to the numbers asking for assistance.
    I can truely understand that,as many passengers abuse the wheelchair service just to skip lines or walk long distances.
    What’s not acceptable is lying about facts on the ground.My travel companion witnessed in disbelief the failure to provide a wheelchair at every contact point with BA.
    I have not heard the results of the FAA investigation into it yet,but I truely hope BA gets fined.Just for lying about it all.


    BugAdvisor
    Participant

    Two years ago I did something to my knee and was unable to walk more than a few steps for over a month. I booked wheelchair assistance with BA flying PRG-LHR T3.

    The aircraft parked on a remote stand – steps down and a bus. The flight attendant carried my hand luggage (wheeled) down for me while I hobbled onto the bus.

    As many of you may know, the bus drops passengers a really long way from immigration – no idea why they do that, except to force passengers to walk past multiple ‘welcome to Heathrow’ signs and an automatic piano that is roped off and never playing.

    There was nobody waiting with a wheelchair. There was a phone on the wall with a note to say call for assistance. I rang for assistance and nobody answered.

    It took me forever to hobble to immigration – lounging nearby were several special assistance operatives. I began to complain and the woman at the desk just held up a complaint card without saying a single word.

    Welcome to Heathrow.


    Otte
    Participant

    Oh Bug Advisor ….thanks for reminding me….one of BA’s excuses to blame me for their lack of providing assistance was not using that phone you used and no one answered.
    In my case the area was SO congested,that the miracle phone was not visible.
    Sorry BA,I should have known better how to find and use the phone.Absulutley my fault.


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Aircraftlover: it is not LHR problem, it can happen anywhere?

    Not true: it happens only at airports and with airlines where service is either nonexistent or provided by people that are not suitable.

    Try Singapore, KL or Bangkok, some Indian airports or even many US airports. These have excellent wheelchair service.

    The fact is wheelchair service is Airlines responsibility. Choose a good one, book upfront and it shall be easy.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Aircraftlover: it is not LHR problem, it can happen anywhere?

    Not true: it happens only at airports and with airlines where service is either nonexistent or provided by people that are not suitable.

    Try Singapore, KL or Bangkok, some Indian airports or even many US airports. These have excellent wheelchair service.

    The fact is wheelchair service is Airlines responsibility. Choose a good one, book upfront and it shall be easy.

    Actually, in EU airports it is, by law, the airport that is responsible for wheelchair assistance (even though this is arranged by passengers through their airline)

    4 users thanked author for this post.
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