Expert insight

Focus on hidden disabilities: Airlines (part two)

11 November 2019

Our airline partners British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates are supporting and assisting travellers who have both physical and ‘hidden’ disabilities to ensure they receive the support they need to make their trip as comfortable as possible. Have a read.

We love to be in partnership with our air suppliers.

Did you know, we offer a fully comprehensive flight booking and management service, flying business travellers over 600 million miles each year?

We also achieve an average saving of 32% on customer air spend and with access to our specialist fares team, our customers see an average saving of £750 per long haul and complex booking. But it’s not just about cost saving. It’s about creating a safe and comfortable journey, with our customer’s wellbeing in mind, and our air partners are doing what they can to make life easier for passengers with different types of disabilities.

What are hidden or invisible disabilities?

Invisible Disability, or hidden disability, is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges.

Our airline partners are supporting and assisting travellers who have both physical and ‘hidden’ disabilities, in order to ensure that all passengers receive exactly the support they need to make their trip as comfortable as possible. Following our last article on what Virgin Atlantic and airports around the world have in place, take a look at what British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates are doing to ensure a smooth, and comfortable journey for passengers.

British Airways

British Airways continues to go above and beyond to make passenger’s lives as stress-free as possible.

They were recently awarded the ‘Autism Friendly Award’ by National Autistic Society, becoming the only autism-friendly airline in the UK.

The airline has been recognised for the work it is doing to raise awareness of autism among its staff and for creating a personalised, seamless travel experience for autistic customers, allowing them to fly independently and with ease.

As well as raising awareness of autism, BA also support passengers with additional needs. The airline launched its ‘Beyond Accessibility’ campaign, its biggest ever global accessibility training programme, empowering colleagues to fully support customers requiring additional assistance. Helping customer service hosts ensure they understand the needs of and are able to help customers with disabilities, including autism, dementia, mental health problems, hearing loss and visual impairment.

In addition to this substantial investment in accessibility training, the airline endorses the ‘Sunflower’ hidden disability lanyard, a subtle way for customers to let British Airways customer service agents know they have a hidden disability and may require extra help read more here.

You can find out more about BA’s initiatives to support passengers, including their refreshed accessibility section, specialist accessibility teams within their call centres and personalised services, right here.

Singapore Airlines

To ensure all passengers are supported from the moment they enter the airport, Singapore Airlines provides a range of support for people travelling with children, unaccompanied minors, expectant women, medical information, mobility aids, disability assistance and passengers travelling with pets. Read more here.

Whether it’s at the airport, during the flight or when making flight connections, Singapore Airlines offers the following services to passengers travelling with disabilities:

  • For visually impaired passengers, the cabin crew will conduct a safety briefing before take-off and help orientate them to their surroundings. The cabin crew will also assist in preparations, i.e. help identify food items.
  • Inflight safety video is available in sign language.

Singapore Airlines also can also cater for requested seating arrangements, get in touch your local Singapore Airlines office or approach the airport ground staff if you’d like to know more.

Emirates

Passengers can look forward to a safe and comfortable journey with Emirates. Notification is needed only 48 hours prior to the flight, and Emirates will ensure the rest is taken care of whether it’s needed at the airport or on board for:

  • Deaf or hearing impaired passengers
  • Blind or visually impaired passengers
  • Passengers with restricted mobility
  • Pre-Boarding Assistance
  • Assistance and Accessibility In-flight
  • Oxygen Information
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) / Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) / Ventilator and Respirator Devices
  • Passengers requiring escorts
  • Service Dogs
  • Complaint Resolution Officials for Customers with Special Needs

Many Emirates aircrafts are also equipped with the ice in-flight entertainment system, including closed captioning which is a technology that shows actors' dialogue as well as referencing sound effects on a movie. They typically offer around 30 new release movies with Closed Captions each month.

To explore specific services and amenities available on your next trip with Emirates, read more here.

Virgin Atlantic and airports around the world

If you missed part one of our focus on hidden disabilities, you can read it here.

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