L’International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released the results of its 2023 Global Passenger Survey regarding accessibility of air transport to passengers with disabilities.
The survey reports levels of considerable satisfaction among passengers who used the special support services. A proportion of 80% of travelers who use assistance services say that their expectations have been met.
“ In 2019, the IATA General Assembly adopted a resolution reflecting our members’ commitment to ensuring that all travelers have access to safe, reliable and dignified travel. While we all have work to do to meet the needs of our passengers with disabilities, we believe the results of this survey demonstrate progress on our commitment said Conrad Clifford, Deputy Director General of IATA.
The survey confirms airline experience that more and more travelers need assistance. With the aging of the population in many air travel markets, this trend is likely to continue, and aviation, like many other industries, will struggle to find the resources necessary to serve this important demographic segment. .
“ As demand for special assistance grows, we will need more ways to accommodate travelers with special needs. Currently, requests for special assistance almost always involve the use of a wheelchair. But travelers’ actual demands may be very different. The traveler may simply need help finding their way in a crowded airport, or they may have difficulty using stairs, or they may be perfectly mobile but visually impaired. We are developing ways to ensure the availability of wheelchairs when needed as well as options adapted to the diversity of travelers’ needs “, explained Linda Ristagno, IATA Deputy Director, External Affairs.
The crucial need for clear information online
The IATA survey also shows that the accessibility of websites must be improved: 20% of travelers emphasize that the accessibility of websites for reservations should be prioritized. Faced with this observation, IATA recently published its recommendations to ensure that airline websites provide easy access to all the information necessary for travelers with disabilities. In order to ensure equal access for all, the recommendations cover the following points:
-facilitate access to sections of airline websites specifically relating to accessibility;
-specify the criteria giving entitlement to assistance;
-insist travelers needing assistance to request it early, preferably during the booking process.
“ Clarity of information is crucial for anyone who wants to travel. This applies
especially for people with disabilities who need assistance, and who must
make their travel arrangements very carefully. Although airlines have done
big steps to provide more advice on their websites, we can do better, by
particular to facilitate the search for specific information », underlined Linda Ristagno.