CAA advice to air passengers with reduced mobility and disabilities

Date: 22 October 2012

Any passenger in the UK that faces difficulty travelling within an airport or on board an aircraft – through disability, injury, age or any other reason - is entitled to help from the airport or airline. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is today reminding travellers of their rights and offering advice on what to do to improve their air travel experience.

The message comes after the CAA took over responsibility for handling air travel complaints from disabled people and those with reduced mobility from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Anyone who is unhappy with the service they receive when travelling should first contact the airport or airline they used, but if they don’t receive a satisfactory response the CAA can then take up the case on their behalf.

And to ensure the CAA delivers the best possible results for those that aren’t happy with the service they get from an airport or airline, it has set up the “Disability advisory group” - a forum where disability groups, consumer groups, the Department for Transport and the CAA can share data on the issues of most concern.

The rights of people with reduced mobility travelling by air apply across the EU and the CAA is responsible for enforcing them here in the UK. Its efforts focus on making sure airports and airlines meet their passengers’ needs and as part of this, the regulator is stressing to passengers the importance of informing their airport and airline of their needs at least 48 hours before they are due to travel. This can help improve the level of support passengers receive by allowing enough time for suitable preparations and additional facilities to be made available.

Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA said:

“Anyone who is able to fly safely should have fair access to air travel, and the right to any support they need to travel within the airport and board the aircraft. The obligations on airports and airlines to provide this support are very clear, and as we saw during the Paralympics, having everyone work together is the best way to ensure passengers get the service they deserve.

“However, there are still occasions where people do not receive the support they need and this can be very distressing for those passengers. By notifying their airport and airline of their needs in advance of their flight, passengers can help prevent this. And if they still don’t receive a good quality service, we want to hear from them so we can work with the airports and airlines to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Information and advice for passengers with reduced mobility is available from the CAA’s online passenger portal at www.caa.co.uk/passengers. The portal also includes other useful advice for passengers before they fly, whilst on board their flight and how to complain if something goes wrong.
Passengers who are not satisfied with the response from a complaint to an airport or airline can refer their complaint to passengercomplaints@caa.co.uk

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030 press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow the CAA on www.twitter.com/UK_CAA

Notes to Editors
1. The rights for disabled passengers and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air are set out in EU regulation under 1107/2006. Click here to read the regulation in full. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:204:0001:0009:EN:PDF
2. Responsibility for handling complaints against airports and airlines from passengers with reduced mobility previously fell to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but the CAA has now taken over this responsibility. This applies across the UK, except in Northern Ireland where the responsible body is the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.
3. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.