British Airways today announced the launch of a new team dedicated to the support of passengers with accessibility needs.

It’s a massive step forward, especially after the shocking stories we’ve heard about passengers getting left where they were almost crawling in airports/plane aisle due to lost wheelchairs or being left unattended (after calling for attention). Recently disabled TV presenter, Sophie Morgan was left in a state of stress with no support on a flight, and frankly reading stories like these makes us all realise that airlines must do more to support people with additional accessibility needs.

We’re pleased to see that British Airways has launched a dedicated service to meet the needs of people with mobility issues. However, we hope British Airways hasn’t just launched the scheme as part of a vanity project in response to the copious number of complaints they have received. It should be meaningful allowing for ever passenger to have a positive flying experience.

The press release repeated three times that this was part of the £6.5 billion investment for customers. Yes, we get it, you’re investing in customers. Strategically, if you don’t invest, you’re going to get left behind the competition. An upgrade to your dated cabins are a much needed refresh to an ageing fleet.

Earlier this year the airline also launched a programme to improve assistance for passengers with hidden and visible disabilities.

So here’s what British Airways said they are offering, including:

  • A handpicked team of customer service professionals that have received specialist training to enable them to answer any questions people face via phone or email
  • help with making new flight bookings
  • hotel and car hire bookings
  • help with informing cabin crew and airport staff about specific requirements
  • sharing of information to support and empower customers with the confidence to fly
The new British Airways’ accessibility team

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience said: “I am really excited about the possibilities the new team will open up for the 50,000 customers requiring additional assistance who travel with us each month. Every member of the team is incredibly passionate about helping our customers and enabling them to relax and enjoy British Airways’ unique service.”

Frankly, in this day and age if airlines don’t cater for passengers with special accessibility requirements, they should start re-considering their practices.

I hope the move will result in more positive experiences for people with special accessibility needs, and not just a vanity project for British Airways to raise their corporate profile. They really have to demonstrate they’re making a difference and not paying lip service to the growing demand.

Note: the service is only available from 9-5 Monday to Saturday, outside of these hours you can leave the team an email.