Published on Friday, August 11, 2017

Heathrow rated 'poor' for treatment of disabled passengers

London Heathrow, Manchester, East Midlands, and Exeter airports have been shamed in a report on caring for disabled passengers.

All four were rated 'poor' in a report by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority for the assistance they provide to passengers with a disability.

Disabled passengers arriving at Heathrow, for example, are being forced to wait up to two hours for help disembarking aircraft.

The CAA research also found instances of passengers not being treated with dignity and respect.

It has called for the badly performing airports to take action and says it will monitor progress until improvements are made.

A Heathrow spokesperson said it was 'extremely disappointed' with the findings.

"They are not acceptable and fall short of the experience Heathrow aims to provide its passengers. Addressing the issues raised in this report is a priority for us.

"We apologise to those who have been affected and are taking action, including the amendment and retendering of our contract with new and higher standards of service, to ensure passengers who require special assistance, receive the service they rightly deserve."

The report, based on such as customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations, rated 20 airports as 'good' and six - Birmingham, Glasgow Prestwick, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, and Norwich - as very good.

It also found the number of UK passengers with a disability travelling by air has risen by more than two thirds since 2010, far exceeding overall passenger growth over the same period.

CAA director of consumers and markets, Richard Moriarty, said: "UK aviation should be proud that it continues to serve a rapid increase in the number of passengers with a disability. Our surveys, along with the airports' own studies, have shown high levels of satisfaction among disabled passengers and we have seen some examples of excellent service where assistance is well organised and delays are minimal.

"However, East Midlands, Exeter, Heathrow and Manchester have fallen short of our expectations and we have secured commitments from them to make improvements. We will monitor their implementation over the coming months to make sure that services for passengers with a disability or reduced mobility continue to improve."

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  • Terminal 5 is especially poor

    I have had a recent back operation and require wheelchair assistance, the wheelchair meets you and then they transfer you onto a buggy and leave you waiting for other passengers, delaying you for ages. Contrast this with Emirates, who provide a superb service, particularly in Dubai, no wonder that people are getting put off from using BA.

    By Richard Earl of Bradford, Friday, August 11, 2017

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