Ever-changing health requirements, testing, mandatory paperwork, and last-minute travel bans all contribute to high anxiety levels. Whilst this factor is novel for many, it is a recurring one for persons with disabilities traveling by air.
Pre-booking assistance at airports does not always guarantee the right level of support will be available at different stages of the journey. For those traveling with their mobility equipment, not knowing if their wheelchair will make it when connecting or if it will be returned in one piece at arrival are always part of the journey.
Research and surveys suggest persons with disabilities are more likely to be put off traveling by air because of bad experiences and ensuing intolerable levels of anxiety.
It shouldn’t be this way, in fact, air travel could and should be easier for most. Pre-booking assistance massively improved over the last few years. What still has to improve now is the way information is passed along to all parties involved.
Outdated IT solutions are a key bottleneck and should be replaced with modern, state-of-the-art frameworks. This is not science fiction, there are a number of manufacturers out there whose products massively improve transmission and the handling of information.
COVID-19 massively affected air travel, and the whole array of new requirements the Pandemic brought about will remain in place for many years to come. Adding these stress points to the already existing ones affecting persons with disabilities will result in fewer people flying. Not the ideal scenario for airlines and airports, let alone the broader hospitality sector.
The time is now to drive change and invest in those solutions that can mitigate, if not almost eradicate, uncertainty thus eliminating anxiety and make air travel once again enjoyable and almost seamless for all.