A recent walk and talk assessment of London Heathrow airport Terminal 5 focused on the structure’s readiness to handle Holiday season peak traffic.
On Tuesday, Reduced Mobility Rights founder Roberto Castiglioni joined David Blunkett MP for a joint walk and talk assessment of Heathrow’s British Airways flagship Terminal 5.
Heathrow’s Head of Passenger Support Services Mark Hicks, OmniServ Chairman Ernie Patterson and OmniServ General Manager Martin Benfield hosted the visit.
Assistance services at Terminal 5 are currently undergoing renovations. New procedures are being rolled out; new waiting lounges are going to replace existing ones, while additional services are scheduled to be deployed after the summer, which induced us to postpone the formal assessment to a later date.
The visit presented the occasion to learn about Heathrow’s preparations to cope with the Holidays season peak traffic.
In line with Reduced Mobility Rights proposed suggestions to overhaul assistance at airports across the
European Union, Terminal 5 is preparing to widen the scope of assistance services in the effort to provide all passengers a better experience.
OmniServ just completed training 320 Heathrow Ambassadors, who will assist passengers at every step of their journey. While the idea may not sound new, the training process is revolutionary. The seasonal employees have been trained by a world acclaimed hospitality chain, to ensure passengers are welcomed and assisted the same way they would in a five stars hotel.
Passengers with special needs will also benefit from this innovative approach. However, in terms of infrastructure, passengers requiring assistance will have to wait until the end of the year before benefitting from the new, more comfortable and better equipped waiting lounges.
Currently, the most critical area requiring immediate action is the transit lounge facing the main immigration area. The open space waiting area is conveniently located in the vicinity of accessible toilets; however, there is no availability of drinks or food in its proximity. We asked Heathrow management to urgently deploy vending machines to ease the wait of passengers making use of that facility between connecting flights.
London Heathrow Terminal 5 preparations for peak season are not an isolated event. Most recentlythe European Commission started a campaign to raise awareness of passenger rights. The newly launched App containing passengers’ rights is at the core of this campaign.
The application, available for Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7, provides users with clear and concise information on their travel rights within the European Union. Presented in a question-answer format, it allows users to easily identify the problem which they are experiencing and be provided with a clear explanation of their rights and the options available to them. The App is available in 22 languages and can be downloaded here: Your Passenger Rights
About the author
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Reduced Mobility Rights, Roberto Castiglioni is an expert of airport accessibility, management and support procedures of passengers with special needs and air travel related regulations. He has been a frequent flyer for the past three decades and has several years of experience as travelling partner of a passenger who requires assistance.
Roberto provides accessibility and access consulting services to airports and airlines. He is a member of the UK Civil Aviation Authority Access To Air Travel Working Group. He is also a member of the Easyjet Special Assistance Advisory Group. Esaag provides Easyjet with strategic guidance and practical advice on the evolving needs of passengers requiring special assistance.