Disabled and elderly passengers using airports this Christmas advised on how to get mobility assistance

Date: 11 December 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today advised disabled and elderly passengers to let their airport and airline know of the assistance they need to avoid problems with their flight this Christmas.

Under European regulations, anyone facing difficulty moving around the airport or aircraft – including disabled and elderly passengers - is entitled to support if they give 48 hours’ notice. However, many people needing assistance don’t call ahead in advance, making it more difficult for airports and airlines to make all the necessary preparations so passengers can travel safely and comfortably.

With around 15 million people expected to pass through Britain’s airports this December, the CAA is reminding those with mobility needs to pre-notify their airport and airline of any assistance they need.

Iain Osborne, Director of Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“We’re heading towards one of the busiest periods of the year for both air travel and holiday bookings. People are excited about taking their flights and the last thing they want is to have problems at the airport or whilst on board their flight.

“The regulations help to make sure this doesn’t happen, but to get help it is still vital that passengers who need assistance call ahead so airports and airlines have enough notice to prepare the support passengers need.”

Passengers with reduced mobility who are unhappy with the service they receive should first complain to their airport and/or airline. If they are unsatisfied with the response, they should refer their claim to the CAA. Information on how to refer a complaint to the CAA is available from www.caa.co.uk/passengers.

The CAA has also launched the Flying with a Disability or Reduced Mobility survey to help get a better understanding of people’s views on air travel. The survey is aimed at anyone with reduced mobility, and the results will help the CAA improve the support airports and airlines offer to passengers. As well as frequent fliers, the CAA is keen to hear from those that don’t use air travel regularly but would like to fly more in the future.

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: https://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

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.