Knowing your rights and what to expect when things go wrong is an essential part of travel preparations, even more so if you rely on assistance when travelling by air.
A recently published consumer-focused research commissioned by the UK Civil Aviation Authority found that passengers with a disability are significantly less likely to fly than others, with many saying access worries are reasons not to fly.
However the research shows that 78 per cent of those who request in advance the special assistance they are entitled to are satisfied with their air travel experience.
Having a negative airport experience can be off-putting. A soon-to-be published scientific research explains the extent of damage a bad experience can have on a traveller.
Brain scans of passengers who believed they were about to die when Air Transat Flight 236 ran out of fuel over the Atlantic in 2001 show the full impact of traumatic memories.
The Canadian study, led by researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences' Rotman Research Institute in Toronto found uncontrolled fear on-board Air Transat 236 could have changed the way people process new information, making them more sensitive to new negative experiences.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
"If you want peace, prepare for war," ancient Romans used to say. Translated into a modern world concept, preparedness is crucial to minimise unforeseeable problems.
Knowing your passenger rights is essential. If you were stuck in a hot, overcrowded terminal facing a six-hour delay, would you know what you’re entitlements were?
“Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when travelling. If your holiday is waylaid by delays or cancelations Consumer Support team (0800 121 6022) are here to help you over the summer season,” Scott Kennerley, Head of Transport at the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland said.
Last year the Consumer Support team helped more than 730 travellers get in excess of £70,000 in good will gestures and compensation.
The Consumer Council’s travel guides Plain Facts, Plain Sailing, Access to Air Travel & Access to Ferry Travel for those with a disability or reduced mobility and travel podcasts are available to download on the Consumer Council website. (The link opens a new window)
Sainsbury's Bank, wholly owned by the UK's third largest chain of supermarkets, put together an incredibly useful and easy to read guide on how to deal with flight disruptions.
The guide contains all you need to know about what you’re entitled to if your flight is delayed or cancelled, your legal rights and the responsibilities of the airline. Sainsbury's Bank Guide to dealing with flight disruption. (The link opens a new window)
Finally, if you need assistance when travelling by air you may find useful information in our page on access to air travel resources where you will find all you need to know from booking special assistance to what to do when travelling with your personal wheelchair and more.