Quality levels of assistance airports provide passengers with special needs is improving in airports across Europe.
Our ever expanding network of contacts within airports across the European Union and beyond is reporting a significant increase in passengers’ satisfaction with special assistance services. This data mirrors what passengers with special needs and our own group of mystery shoppers report.
Overall, satisfaction with assistance received exceeds 85% across all airports, with peaks close to 100% at some destinations like Copenhagen airport and Belfast International.
Our reader H.M., who recently travelled with her child with special needs from the south of Europe to America via Germany, shared her experience at Munich airport.
“I must commend Munich airport on the lounge available for passengers with special needs. I was thrilled to find cots to rest on as well as snacks and other services - a protective oasis and a godsend on our more than four hour layover. I was particularly impressed with the member of staff who was manning the reception. She was extremely kind and helpful in a moment of exhaustion and stress. People like her make what can be a daunting situation an almost pleasant one.”
Larger airports usually show lower satisfaction scores. Poor agents’ training and understaffing on one hand, high volumes of non pre booked assistance requests and abuse of services on the other are factors playing a determining role in lowering passengers’ satisfaction. However, the vast majority are working to overcome problems and improve the quality levels of assistance.
Accessibility of infrastructure and availability of information are areas with room for improvement at most airports. However, some are taking steps to tackle existing problems.
We monitor progress at a large number of airports across Europe, particularly those we assessed over the years. Warsaw Chopin airport has approved budget to fix the issues we reported during our last audit. Corrections will be put in place in 2014.
Sofia International Airport recently produced a well made, useful video presentation of assistance services available to passengers with special needs. The video can be viewed on the airport’s website (link opens a new page).
In an industry constantly seeking the right balance between costs and passengers’ satisfaction fine tuning special assistance services to meet growing numbers of passengers with special needs traveling by air is a crucial factor in determining which airports and airlines will play a dominant role in the future of air travel.
In order to achieve best, yet cost-effective results, efforts and resources shall be targeted in crafting infrastructure enabling passengers with special needs to maintain high levels of independence through the availability of assistive technology.
About the author
Roberto Castiglioni is an industry acknowledged expert of all aspects of access to air travel for passengers with different abilities. Providing Civil Aviation authorities, airports, and airlines strategic guidance, practical advice, and cutting edge solutions to support the evolving requirements of passengers with special needs is his mission statement. Roberto is a member of the UK Civil Aviation Authority Access To Air Travel Working Group and the Easyjet Special Assistance Advisory Group.