ABTA Pledges To Boost Disability Awareness
- Written by Roberto Castiglioni
The Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, looks forward to working together with Reduced Mobility Rights to increase disability awareness in the Travel industry.
ABTA and Reduced Mobility Rights management met in London on Thursday to discuss concerns raised by a recent research into availability of information for passengers with special needs on travel agents websites.
The research found 34 websites out of a total of 38 audited not in compliance with Regulation EC1107/2006, the air travel equality law.
Article 4.3 of Regulation EC1107/2006 states that airlines and their agent shall make publicly available the safety rules that apply to the carriage of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, as well as any restrictions on their carriage or on that of mobility equipment. Article 6.1 requires airlines, their agents, and tour operators ensure receipt of notifications of the need for assistance made by disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility at the time of booking.
Susan Parsons and Gillian Edwards agree more needs to be done to improve the quantity and quality of information available to passengers with special needs on members’ websites. However, ABTA management feels that the association and its members comply with the minimum requirements of equality law.
The two managers highlighted the great deal of work ABTA has done to improve the quality of information for passengers with disabilities. The association's Pre-Notification Guidance states that that easily accessible links to the section containing information for disabled passengers should be available on online travel agents websites' homepage. Dedicated pages should also clearly explain users how they should record and notify their requests for assistance.
Reduced Mobility Rights management insisted on the need to provide passengers with special needs easily accessible, essential information. The organization recently published its guidelines for travel agents' websites. The travel agent website gold standard (link opens a new window) addresses key elements of information that must be available to passengers with disabilities while delivering an equality law compliance framework.
Both ABTA and Reduced Mobility Rights agree that travel agents must improve accessibility and increase availability of information for passengers with special needs. The two organizations pledged greater cooperation promoting effective dissemination of passengers’ rights, closer cooperation in monitoring information available on travel agents websites, and to closely work together on future initiatives aimed at boosting public awareness on services and assistance available to passengers with special needs traveling by air.
“We had a productive meeting this afternoon with Reduced Mobility Rights. We're looking forward to working more closely together,” ABTA said in a short public statement at the end of the meeting.