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For some, flying with a disability is a daunting prospect and as a result people with disabilities only make up a small percentage of the total number of air passengers in the UK. Recently, a report from the CAA found that of the 260 million passengers that flew in and out the UK in 2016, only 3.1 million passengers used special assistance services. This makes up only 1.52% of all passengers, suggesting barriers for people with disabilities remain.
Following this report, Heathrow has taken proactive steps to transform its services; establishing the HAAG and investing £23 million in an improved contract with their Special Assistance partner Omniserve. Special Assistance Services are a legal requirement for all UK airports and cover everything from car parking to moving through security, boarding the plane and transferring a passenger to their seat.
Graham Race runs QEF’s Tryb4uFly service, helping people with disabilities to access air travel with confidence. This service provides free information to people thinking about flying with a disability, as well as enabling people to experience the challenges of air travel; such as boarding, wheelchair transfer and seating; in a safe and realistic aircraft cabin setting.
In joining HAAG Graham joins some of the leading experts in this field who are all working to achieve the objective of helping to make Heathrow the leading airport in the world for accessibility and inclusion. HAAG will look to bring a consumer perspective to all aspects of Heathrow’s decision-making and planning processes, and QEF will contribute expertise in this area.
Roberto Castiglioni, chairman of the Heathrow Access Advisory Group said:
“The HAAG’s vision is to improve the passenger’s journey by keeping accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of thinking. In this view, I am delighted Graham Race from QEF accepted the invite to join the Group. Graham’s unparalleled experience in helping people living with disabling conditions gain access to air travel is a true asset for the HAAG.”
QEF Tryb4uFly recently worked with Heathrow Airport on a Special Assistance Open Day.
This open day included presentations about flying with a disability and tours of the terminals to allow visitors to experience the airport environment, and the proccesses to go through when travelling, and the assistance provided.
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Tryb4uFly at The Mobility Roadshow: discover easier air travel with a disability
5th May 2017
Tryb4uFly, a service provided by Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), will be offering free workshops and information about accessible air travel at the 2017 Mobility Roadshow 1-3 June, NAEC Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, stand C21.
Organised by Goose Live Events on behalf of the charity Mobility Choice, the Mobility Roadshow incorporating Get Going Live! is an original hands-on event for consumers looking to maintain or discover independence when living with restricted mobility. In addition to one of the largest and most diverse accessible vehicle and mobility product showcases, the roadshow also provides a variety of demonstrations from service providers and charities to answer questions and offer practical guidance on all aspects of mobility.
Tryb4uFly is debuting at the event this year and provides a free advice service for disabled air travellers. This service is hosted by QEF, and expert representatives will be on hand to provide information about air travel for people with disabilities and their families, and offer practical advice and demonstrations. The event will also provide more information about the cabin assessments that are available at three locations around the UK - QEF Mobility Services based in Carshalton, the Regional Driving Assessment Centre in Birmingham and the William Merritt Disabled Living Centre and Mobility Service, Leeds. Each centre has access to a replica section of aircraft fuselage so travellers can trial and compare accessibility and assistive solutions in a realistic environment.
During the practical demonstrations, occupational therapists will guide service users through boarding an aircraft, wheelchair transfer options and support systems available on airplanes. These informative sessions assist with planning, reducing pre-flight anxieties and increasing confidence – and are available at The Mobility Roadshow for free on Friday 2 June and Saturday 3 June.
Assistive products for easier flying are available to hire from Tryb4uFly and through its close relationship with major airlines, the service can also advise which operators offer specialist equipment to help with a variety of mobility needs.
Ann Frye, chair of Mobility Choice, the charity responsible for organising the roadshow, comments: “We are so pleased to be able to offer this facility at the 2017 Mobility Roadshow. Many disabled people can find any kind of travel quite daunting, and these workshops provide the ideal opportunity for people to find out what is available to help suit their particular circumstances. We are enormously grateful to QEF for hosting the sessions over two days of the show.”
The Tryb4uFly website can be found at www.tryb4ufly.org.uk
The 2017 Mobility Roadshow: beyond independence. For all the latest pre-show news and to book a test drive visit: www.mobilityroadshow.co.uk