24 October 2012 Humiliation, Damage and Delays- Trailblazers tackle the challenges to accessible air travel

Trailblazers have reported of a convoluted booking process, lengthy telephone calls and no access to toilets on long haul flights in the Up in the Air report published today.

Young disabled people have told us about damaged equipment and a questionable cap on compensation for severely damaged wheelchairs together with humiliation when trying to use the toilet on board. The report reveals that some Trailblazers have been put off flying entirely.  

Over 100 Trailblazers were involved in the report which reveals challenges when booking, boarding and mobilising whilst on the flight. The problems are not specific to budget airlines as premium carriers did not always fair better.

Our report revealed that:

  • nine out of ten wheelchair users are unable to use the airline toilet and therefore have to avoid drinking before and during flights
  • Over 60% say their wheelchairs have been damaged when using an airline
  • Half had disability related problems when booking airline tickets

We are calling on airlines to clean up their act when it comes to flying with disabled passengers and want to see a streamline booking process, better equality training and realistic investigation to improve aircraft design.

Trailblazers are calling on airlines to

  • provide free phone advice lines for mobility assistance so disabled people don't pay for lengthy telephone calls
  • ensure that information about mobility is accurately filtered to all concerned
  • examine loading procedures and train baggage handlers to treat wheelchairs as vital, fragile and expensive pieces of medical equipment.

The network wants to improve access to air travel and work together with organisations to see some real changes, with increased clarity, consistency and understanding of how to make air travel equal for all. Trailblazers will meet with airline industry bosses today at the All Party Parliamentary Group meeting in Westminster,

Watch Trailblazers Sulaiman, Tanvi and Catherine featured on Channel 4 News last night.

Tags: East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South East, South West, Trailblazers, Wales, West Mid, abroad, access, airlines, campaigning, disability, disabled, hard working, wheelchair, young disabled people

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