Disabled and elderly urged to have their say on quality of support from UK airports and airlines

Date: 12 November 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today launched a survey to help drive improvements to the experiences of disabled and elderly people travelling by air.

Under European regulations, anyone facing difficulty moving around the airport or aircraft – including disabled and elderly passengers - is entitled to assistance from their airline or airport. An estimated two million UK passengers receive this support every year and the CAA has launched this survey to get a better understanding of their experiences and attitudes to flying in general.

The survey includes questions on passengers’ views of flying including asking them to rate how accessible the different stages of their recent journeys were. Respondents are also asked about the level of assistance they expect when using UK airports and airlines.

As well as hearing from regular travellers who receive assistance when flying, the CAA is also keen to receive responses from disabled and elderly people who may not fly frequently. Information on their attitudes to flying and their awareness of the assistance on offer is crucial to helping the CAA make sure the UK aviation industry provides the very best level of assistance to disabled and elderly passengers.

Iain Osborne, Director of Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“We believe everyone should have fair access to air travel and there are regulations in place to make sure that anyone who needs help moving around the airport or on board the aircraft receives it.

“UK airports and airlines provide this assistance to around two million passengers each year, enabling many people with mobility needs to enjoy the benefits of flying. However, to make sure we can continue to challenge industry to achieve higher standards, it is really important we hear from those groups about their experiences. This survey gives them the perfect chance to get their views across and help improve the service they receive in the future.”

The CAA developed the Flying with a Disability or Reduced Mobility survey with the support of the Access to Air Travel Group, which includes representatives from a number of leading disability charities and other groups representing those with reduced mobility (see notes to editors for full details).

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and respondents do not have to provide any personal details. To access the survey please visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/FBT9QHJ. If you have any difficulty completing it, please call 020 7453 6213. The deadline for responses is 10 January 2014.

Passengers with reduced mobility can find out more information on their rights when travelling by air by visiting the CAA’s online passenger portal at: www.caa.co.uk/passengers.

For further media information please contact the CAA Press Office on: 020 7453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk.

Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA

-ENDS-

Notes to editors
1. Rights for passengers with reduced mobility are set out under European regulation EC 1107/2006. The full regulation is available to view at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32006R1107:EN:NOT
2. The regulations apply to any passengers with mobility needs including those with disabilities, the elderly or passengers who have sustained injuries that restrict their movement. Airlines can only refuse to board a passenger with mobility needs is if there is a genuine safety reason.
3. The CAA is responsible for handling complaints against airports and airlines from passengers with reduced mobility. This applies across the UK, except in Northern Ireland where the responsible body is the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. More information is available at www.caa.co.uk/passengers.
4. The CAA’s Access to Air Travel Group includes representatives from the following organisations: Action On hearing Loss; Age UK; British Lung Foundation; Guide Dogs for the Blind Association; Leonard Cheshire; Muscular Dystrophy/Trailblazers; Reduced Mobility Rights; Spinal Injuries Association; Tourism for All; and Anne Bates (independent consultant).
5. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.