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Half of disabled travellers feel they can’t fly, finds Which? survey

14 January 2020

A lack of adaptations by travel-related businesses has led to half of all disabled people feeling they cannot fly according to a survey of disabled people by Which? Travel and the Research Institute of Disabled Consumers.

A quarter were dissatisfied with the assistance available, rising to nearly a third for Heathrow services.

A lack of staff to provide legally necessary assistance has resulted in passengers’ safety being put in peril. Airports do not provide self-propelled wheelchairs, and disabled people who don’t use wheelchairs also feel discriminated against, feeling that staff only class wheelchair users as disabled.

Travel blogger Martin Sibley points out the business case for better travel for disabled people.  “If we’ve got 1.3 billion people with disabilities in the world, that equates to $8 trillion of spending power. In 2020, I believe it’s the right thing that everybody should be included in transport.”

Travel writer Emily Rose Yates told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s tough to keep going when the stuffing has been knocked out of you and you just can’t bear the thought of encountering another damaged wheelchair disembarking the plane with you, or explaining once again to the hotel manager that accessibility does not mean a lift with five steps up to it.” 

The RiDC has created a web resource to help people ask for the help they need when travelling: https://www.ridc.org.uk/news/special-assistance-airports

More on this story can be found here: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/01/almost-half-of-disabled-people-feel-they-cant-travel-by-air/