A research to improve the airport travel experience of passengers with reduced mobility, and other disabilities, is currently underway at Cranfield University.
The study, launched by a Cranfield University student at the Department of Air Transport for an MSc research project, aims to include the view of all parties involved; legal, assistance providers, airport managing bodies, and disabled passengers.
The research ultimate goal is to identify common standards for providing a uniform, economically viable and tailored level of service for the individual among EU airports by making use of current and innovative technology.
The different areas looked at by the study are the inconsistency on booking requirements, assistance at airports, checking procedures and notification, denied boarding, security, on board procedures and damage to mobility equipment. These are the main problem areas in which different discriminations take place and special needs and reduced mobility passengers are commonly faced with when traveling.
After the 1107/2006 came into force, many articles were published, clearly showing irregularities towards PRM passengers, discrimination and creating controversy. The European Disability forum received several passenger complaints about the service they received, ranging from the most shocking to the saddest stories. The unfairness of these events are the driving force to this research, with the ultimate aim of it making a difference for special needs or reduced mobility, businesses and society.
In order to understand the needs and concerns of these passengers and gather the best practices for providing assistance, the study analyses and compares the written European and U.S. law and standards on mobility rights.
Then, a case study of several European airports with different characteristics: airports dedicated to low-cost carriers, airports hosting legacy carriers and airports with a mix of low-cost, charter and legacy carriers. The goal is to identify the current levels of service being provided and gather together best practices being operated or implemented in these airports.
The study then moves into the direct experience area, wishing to understand the actual needs of these passengers through a questionnaire and analysis of complaints.
Different articles and complaints are illustrative examples that show that there is still room for improvement six years after the regulation came into force.
The survey aims to capture the passengers’ personal needs and views on the service received with multiple choice and open questions, as well as, understanding the relationship between the reduced mobility passenger and technology (e.g. Smart phones like iPhone, email/internet, text…).
It has been demonstrated in the past that Technology can help us in different situations. This research analyses how technology can provide better communication and information channels, both within the company providing the assistance service and between the passenger and the assisting company. At the same time, the feedback provided by the passengers can help develop innovative technology which best adapt and tailor assistance to the individual passenger needs.
Passengers with special needs, reduced mobility or a carer, are invited to fill out this survey on the mobility assistance expected when traveling to/from an airport, the needs, problems encountered and level of interaction with mobile technology and online information resources.
Each feedback is extremely valuable and will make a significant contribution to the travel experience of passengers with reduced mobility and other disabilities in the future.
Please follow the link below to participate to the research: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/paxreducedmobility
About the researcher:
A Cranfield University student at the Department of Air Transport, Cristina Bustos Rodriguez is currently pursuing an MSc on Airport Planning and Management.
With a considerable academic and professional background in information technology, and personally motivated with the subject, Cristina is a focused postgraduate student who is truly passionate about this particular under researched subject.
About Cranfield University:
Cranfield University is a research-based university with two campuses. The main campus is at Cranfield, Bedfordshire and the second is the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire.
The main campus is located next to an operational airport, Cranfield Airport, from which the University operates its own aircraft for aerospace teaching and research purposes.