British Airways has pledged its commitment to improving accessibility for the International Day of People with Disability (3 December).
Alex Cruz, the airline’s chairman and chief executive, has signed up to The Valuable 500, a campaign calling for 500 of the most influential businesses to include disability on their leadership agendas.
Signing The Valuable 500 pledge, Cruz said: “We know travelling with a hidden or visible disability can be difficult, so through signing this pledge we are making a commitment to get this right for our customers, and providing reassurance that we will do all we can to make their journey easy and stress-free.”
Almost half a million customers who require additional assistance fly with BA each year and the airline’s analysts expect this will increase by 8% year-on-year.
The airline has been active on accessibility issues, including launching a training programme called Beyond Accessibility in January and publishing a Visual Guide to Flying to help disabled people with flight preparation.
It has also partnered with the Department for Transport on an accessibility initiative called It’s Everyone’s Journey.
In September, the airline launched a team of accessibility experts, the majority of whom have personal experience living or caring for someone with a disability.
“I have two children who are profoundly deaf, so I know how difficult it can be for customers with a disability to navigate unfamiliar places such as an airport,” said Claire Mason Burnett, a member of the 20-strong accessibility team in Newcastle.
“That’s why I love being part of the accessibility team and providing customers with the information and reassurance they need to be able to relax and enjoy their journey.
“Lots of customers contact us because they have never travelled before, and they believe their disability means they never will. The best part about my job is being able to give them the support they need to feel confident to travel and explore the world for the first time.
“It’s an incredible feeling.”