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Accessible Tourism in UK Airports

Accessible Tourism in UK Airports
Author: Kaleigh Earth
1 Commentries
The strand that has been chosen is strand 1, which is improving well-being through social and accessible tourism. This strand focuses on how the industry allows the ease of travel for those that find the task difficult. The main focus of this paper will focus on accessible tourism and how airports, specifically within the UK, allocate equipment and help with disabled people travelling needs.
There have been many issues raised with the airports in the UK, as passengers with disabilities find it difficult to negotiate around the airport and terminals. Included in this, there will be a brief analysis in the lack of infrastructure, information and awareness within the industry.
This paper will outline the difficulties that people who have a disability, whether it is physical or psychological issues when travelling within an airport within the UK. The key issues within accessible tourism are the matter of disabled people not having access to equipment that is required for easy travel. Also, airports can show a lack of fitted infrastructure for disabled people to use, and if there is infrastructure, it is situated far away from the main area.
The reason the conduction of this paper has been conducted is to ease the idea of travelling and transportation methods for disabled people within airports. With there being a lack of support provided by airports, travelling is a challenging task for people who live with a disability. With the airports in the UK, there is a standardisation throughout the airports. this standardisation could be part of the reason as to why some disabled passengers have difficulties travelling around the airport especially id the equipment is not up to a high enough standard for the passenger to use.
It is a human right that everyone deserves the right for comfort and dignity, which is why improvements need to be made within the airport and in aircraft. Disabled people already have statutory rights when travelling; however, more could be done to make the experience more comfortable. In the aviation passengers rights, it states that assistance must be suitable for the passenger's needs, without any extra costs to the passengers. This extra assistance includes the assistance at check-in and with baggage handling. This assistance also helps to store and to retrieve baggage and will offer support throughout the immigration, customs and security procedures. With the assistance, there is the opportunity to have assistance with moving to the toilet facilities if required by the service user. Also, moving throughout the airport can be difficult, and there is aid available that will offer help with the transportation of up to two pieces of mobility in addition to medical equipment around the airport (Department for Transport, 2018).
The Department for Transportation issued to improve the awareness of disabled passengers and their transportation needs. The Department for Transportation is closely working with the Civil Aviation Authority to review the performance standards of airports. this review includes the length of time that is taken for a disabled passenger to disembark from an aircraft within the assistance members of staff that allocated in the airport. Also, the consideration of passengers assistance could be improved by providing assistance through a single member of staff throughout the journey that is undertaken in the airport (GOV, 2018).
When rating airports, the website Skytrax, allows passengers the opportunity to review the airports. Manchester airport was rated on average 3/10 from 1059 reviews. Different parts of the airport were ranked on a score out of 5; the terminal seating scored 2 out of 5. The terminal cleanliness was ranked at being 2 out of 5, as well as the queuing times were poor as it was ranked at 2 out of 5.
With some airports falling short of the expectations of the disabled passengers and customers and their needs. With the number of disabled passengers that are travelling, increasing the amount of information that is available should be more noticeable. This will allow the passengers and their relatives more information to be provided about the issues that could arise when travelling. Airports have recognised the issues, and airport operators have developed Disability Access Facilitation Plans. These plans have the aim to meet the need and expectations that disabled people require for ease of travel (Bowtell, 2015).
I believe that airports within the UK have started to recognise the issue that disabled people may face when travelling. By the airports recognising the issue the disabled passengers less stressful travel experience.

Reference List:
Department for Transport, 2018, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/728547/inclusive-transport-strategy.pdf [Accessed 20th May 2019]

James Bowtell, 2015- https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JTF-03-2015-0012 [Accessed 20th May 2019]

CAA, 2019, http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20180711%20CAP1679%20FINAL.pdf [Accessed 20th May 2019]

A commentary on Accessibility when travelling via air.
Author: Amber Walsh
I have decided to comment on this paper, due a personal interest in the topic researched; accessibility. This topic was selected to comment on due to accessibility and disability travel becoming a more frequent topic discussed today. Further this paper, increased my knowledge around disability travel within airports as this was not my chosen topic for the conference paper.

This paper outlines the issues disabled travellers face when travelling via air, these issues are not restricted to within the airport; they expand throughout the experience on board the aircraft and in their chosen destination. (Daniels et al., 2005), notes passengers with mobility difficulties find their first challenge to impact their travel companions. Regarding the handling of luggage, due to the passenger being reliant on their travel companions; in some instances, it was noted the disabled passengers were left waiting while their companions dealt with the luggage.

(Buhalis and Darcy, 2010), describes airport experiences for disabled travellers as socially constructed. Due to airline and airport staff being unaware of the needs disabled travellers require. Along with the lack of knowledge regarding legal and company policies within the airline industry and the airline procedures. (Buhalis and Darcy, 2010), further explains the importance of cooperation and communication between airports and airlines to ensure they cater for disabled traveller needs. Ensuring these travellers have a smooth journey without feeling they cannot do something within the airport due to their disability. Finally, airports failing to cater for disabled travellers needs, along with no established travel standards for these travellers. It increases ethical dilemmas connected to health, security and accessibility.

The author positively considers the issues passengers travelling with mobility issues will face when travelling via air. Such as handling of their luggage, personal hygiene and moving through the airport. The policies provided by the author retrieved from the Department of Transport, allows the reader to gain a wide amount of knowledge regarding the policies in place. By ensuring airlines and airports provide assistance to passengers with mobility issues. This includes transportation within the airport; providing support through immigration, customs and security procedures and help with handling baggage. Guaranteeing passengers can travel with dignity and respect.

The author demonstrated a clear understanding surrounding accessible tourism in relation to airports and airlines. The conference paper was clear and easy to read, giving readers an insight in the difficulties raised with accessible travel within airports. One recommendation to further develop this paper would be the inclusion of airports accessible travel and passengers’ policies. Although the paper does include general airport policies, the inclusion specific airport policies would benefit the paper. Due to the reader being able to fully obtain knowledge regarding airports policies and the materials the airport has in place, to cater for the needs to travellers with disabilities.


Buhalis, D. and Darcy, S. (2010) Accessible Tourism; Issues and Concepts. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Daniels, M., Rodgers, E. and Wiggins, P. (2005) Travel Tales: an interpretive analysis of constraints and negotiations to pleasure travel as experienced by persons with physical disabilities. Tourism Management, 26, 919-930. Available from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/SO261517704001359 [accessed 23 May 2019].