Consumer group Which? says airports are failing to meet the needs of disabled travellers

The consumer group Which? says airports, including Stansted and Luton, and failing to meet the needs of disabled travellers.

Which? says passengers with reduced mobility are sometimes being left humiliated, deprived of their dignity and in some cases even physically hurt when travelling through airports, putting them off flying altogether.

Not one single person should have to suffer the indignities and pain we heard about in the course of this investigation. But it seems these experiences of inadequate airport accessibility services are all too common, so it’s unsurprising that thousands of disabled travellers feel unable to fly.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor
All UK airports must, by law, provide free support to any disabled passenger who needs it. Credit: PA

A survey conducted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) found 11 per cent said they weren't dissatisfied with their experience at Stansted airport - at Luton it was 20 per cent.

The special assistance service at Heathrow was deemed the worst overall in survey, followed by Manchester airport.

Which? says moreeeds to be done to ensure better communication between airline, airport and special assistance and staff extra training is needed to make sure all passengers are cared for in a dignified manner.

Which? found 46 per cent of passengers with reduced mobility felt unable to travel by air because of their disability Credit: Which?

The Civil Aviation Authority says passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility should ask for assistance 48 hours before travel, through a travel agent, tour operator or the airline.

The information will then be passed to the airport and the service provider.

By law, airports and airlines must provide help and assistance free of charge.

Special assistance is available to passengers who may need help to travel such as the elderly, those people with a physical disability, such as wheelchair users, and those who have difficulty with social interaction and communication, such as those with autism or dementia.

Help is available from the moment you arrive at an airport and can cover:

  • Your journey through your departure airport

  • Boarding the aircraft and assisting during the flight

  • Disembarking the aircraft

  • Transferring between flights

  • Travelling through your destination airport