The on-going investigation into online travel agents websites unearthing a picture of discrimination against disability takes a new negative twist with the audit of the Post Office website.
Post Office claims to serve over 20 million customers each week and pledges to deliver quality customer service meeting individual needs by recognising that every customer is different. What we discovered is that Post Office completely forgot about the needs of people with disabilities traveling by air. We also discovered Post Office do not like budget airlines, but we consider that the cherry on the sour cake of indifference towards disability.
During a review of search results on Google we came across the Booking Flight Online page [link opens new window] of the website.
Post Office claims to believe in diversity, inclusion, equality and fairness and strive to achieve these values in everything they do. With such a pledge one can only imagine our surprise in not finding one single tip or guidance for passengers with special needs on their flights buyer’s guide. Nothing, the Sahara desert of equality and inclusion to air travel.
We are pretty sure we will soon receive a statement starting with the magical phrase “At Post Office we take disability and equality very seriously …” Our first thought would be not seriously enough, al least given what we came across.
As we continued to audit the page we noticed there is a live weblink to Kayak.com, a flight comparison website containing no information whatsoever for passengers with disabilities. Should we call it a match made in Heaven?
Fairness is another core value of Post Office, perhaps a bit variable we have found. The website advises users to avoid booking long haul flights with budget airlines because "If your flight is cancelled, budget airlines can be particularly mean with compensation. For example, some low-cost airlines do not pay anything unless your flight is delayed by more than six hours."
The above consideration may be correct in PostOfficelandia, certainly not anywhere else across Europe, where delays over three hours trigger the protection scheme of EC261/2004, applying to all European carriers, regardless if low cost or legacy, and to all flights operated by non EU airlines departing from a member state of the European Union.
Needless to say, we cannot stop giggling as we wonder what “mean” low cost airlines think of the “fair” Post Office travel advice.
Findings like the one of today remind us all how deeply embedded in society is indifference towards disability. Then again, why should disabled people want to fly at all?