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View Full Version : Wheelchair users in UK airports. (merged threads)


PAXboy
25th Mar 2018, 20:23
Their just might be some changes:
BBC’s Frank Gardner wins Heathrow pledge for disabled passengers after ‘lost’ wheelchair

Heathrow will improve its assistance for disabled passengers after the BBC journalist Frank Gardner was kept waiting for nearly two hours on a plane when staff “lost” his wheelchair.

Mr Gardner held a “constructive” meeting with John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO, on Sunday, in which they discussed measures to improve the “casual disregard’” with which the BBC correspondent said the airport habitually treats disabled passengers.https://inews.co.uk/news/frank-gardner-secures-heathrow-help-for-disabled-passengers-after-lost-wheelchair/

Upsetting BBC journalists who can answer back can be helpful to other pax!

ExXB
26th Mar 2018, 17:27
The airports, who have a monopoly on PRM handling, should pay compensation to mishandled PRMs. Frankly that would be the only way they will live up to their obligations.

And they would pay nothing if the Pax were treated properly.

Piltdown Man
26th Mar 2018, 21:36
Handling PRM’s is a bloody complicated affair. I wish it was simpler and like the PRM’s, I wish the process were quicker. And in most cases, the solution will not be achieved with extra cash. The problem is the aircraft itself. With a single aisle aircraft and only one or two doors available it is very difficult to board/disembark more than one person at a time. And when the solution is found, who pays? Reduced aircraft utilisation will cost short haul operators dearly and this will have to be funded by someone. And as we are having this discussion, should there be a limit on the number of PRM’s? A group of eight WCHR-C’s set us back one hour and lost us our return slot, delaying our return flight by three hours. Whose fault was that when the compo hounds come out to play? And should all PRM’s be disembarked first? I’m not being disingenuous but if they are, the number of PRM’s will go through the roof due abuse. And I write this knowing my company has, by comparison many others, a pretty good PRM service. But it could certainly be improved.

PM

ExXB
27th Mar 2018, 15:49
PM, the EU has decreed that the airports, not the airlines are responsible for handling PRMs. This was following one LCC deciding they were going to impose fees on PRMs.

Many airports staff for the minimum coverage and when they guess wrong they take no responsibility. Then they turn around and bill the airlines for their services. Who loses? The PRMs. What recourse do they have? Nothing.

They have at least 72 hours notice, often much more. Should they be able to handle 8 WCHRs? Of course they should. They should be able to handle eight of those simultaneously.

Fine the bar-stewards when they screw up. Deduct it from the Executive bonuses but things do have to improve.

Hokulea
28th Mar 2018, 09:17
Handling PRM’s is a bloody complicated affair. I wish it was simpler and like the PRM’s, I wish the process were quicker. And in most cases, the solution will not be achieved with extra cash. The problem is the aircraft itself. With a single aisle aircraft and only one or two doors available it is very difficult to board/disembark more than one person at a time. [...]
With respect, this is not the issue. Having experienced the same problem the OP describes last year I suspect Heathrow has a serious problem handling disabled passengers (apologies, I don't know what a PRM is). The issue is having wheelchairs and staff available on the jetbridge. In our experience last year, there were six or seven passengers requiring wheelchairs from the aircraft to the buggy in terminal 5. We were kept on the plane for a good 45 minutes as they didn't turn up, requiring the flight attendants to stay on board with us as well. This was after a long flight from Seattle.

In the end, because the airport looked as though they would never send the wheelchairs, the cabin crew asked if we would wait onboard or walk a fair distance to where we could get on a buggy. We chose the latter as we were under time constraints, but it was unpleasantly painful. We weren't forced, the crew was marvelous, but they and we were getting pissed off and very impatient.

For some reason, I have never experienced this problem in the US, it seems specific to Heathrow. The only difference I'm aware of is that in the US it's the airline that is responsible for providing wheelchairs rather than the airport. And just to make it clear, I asked for disabled assistance when I booked the flights several months beforehand, it wasn't a last minute thing.

TCAS FAN
28th Mar 2018, 09:24
Had a terrible problem with LHR a couple of years back. Wife broke foot in DXB so needed wheelchair. DXB absolutely fantastic, LHR near complete disaster. According to the person who met us at Terminal 3 they could not take us through Passport Control/Customs. Abandoned us before Passport Control, waited close to an hour, after making several complaints, before someone arrived with another wheelchair to take us through Passport Control/Control. Both wheelchair pushers spoke little English and clearly were expecting a tip, which they never got!

ExXB
28th Mar 2018, 13:35
Hokulea. PRM = Passengers with Reduced Mobility. And you are correct in the US the law requires the airlines to provide this. The US DOT also acts on complaints and fines the airlines when they screw up.

In Europe the airports are responsible. In the UK the airports are incapable of meeting their responsibilities and seem to be immune from punishment.

Piltdown Man
29th Mar 2018, 07:55
The point I made about aircraft surfaced yesterday. As usual, my passengers did not have to wait for assistance. But the design of the aircraft means PRM’s (Not all are physically disabled, some have mental problems and many are illiterate so their families book them as requiring a wheelchair so they get to the correct gate) are dealt with first or last. It is not possible to efficiently deal with them in the flow of able bodies persons.

But every now and again we are left waiting. Unfortunately the service providers do not appear to be bound by any binding service level agreement with airlines or the passengers they serve. Maybe it’s time to introduce such a thing so passengers who are left waiting are appropriately compensated?

PM

hunterboy
29th Mar 2018, 10:27
It’s probably not a coincidence that Heathrow is one of the most profitable airport companies in the world. Those of us that work there can see assets being sweated , and that includes the workers.
I find it interesting that it is owned by a Spanish company that wouldn’t be able to buy an airport in its own country, funnily enough , Spanish airports are a pleasure to go through by comparison.

brianardmore
29th Mar 2018, 10:52
My wife uses a wheelchair to get around as she can only manage a short distance on her feet. Years ago, when she realised she had walking limitations but before we bought our own chair, we requested assistance at airports. However after a number of times being told to sit at the landslide help area until it suited the assisters to arrive usually just in time to go through security and board (thus meaning we had to sit on uncomfortable seats usually in a busy area and were precluded from getting airside to have a meal or even a coffee), we decided enough was enough and bought our own chair.

Before we used our own chair On one occasion at Gatwick we were separated by the assisters who would only take her on the buggy to the flight, I had to walk on a different route to the gate. The upshot was that as I was about to board there was no sign of her and two other people. They had been forgotten about in an upstairs corridor!

Since we now have our own chair we can at least make our way airside, but have had many instances where the assistance failed to arrive and the boarding gate staf had to either help or call for urgent assistance. We have been last on board a few times. At the other end, on at least three occasions at Heathrow T5 we have still been on board the arriving aircraft between 30 and 45 minutes. This will have ruined the aircraft turn around.

In general, despite a couple of upsets, European assistance is far better, usually on time and helpful. What will visitors to the UK think of us when they are greeted by inefficient and sometimes surly or lackadaisical assistance staff at our major airports. I shudder to think.

Sorry to go on a bit, but these issues make air travel for those needing help even more stressful than it should be - and I am not even mentioning the myriad problems encountered going through security with a wheelchair. My wife has been reduced to tears on more than one occasion.

Rossian
29th Mar 2018, 11:23
....on a previous trip to Thailand (Emirates business) Glasgow was great, helper standing behind my wife ready to go.
Dubai was rubbish (they had outsourced to an Indian company) nobody came.
BKK a young racing snake was at the a/c door with madame's name on a card. I could barely keep up. He looked at the immigration queue did a body swerve and took us somewhere else where we were the only customers. Straight through to baggage where he waited with us then out through customs to where the limo was. Star!!
On the return again BKK excellent. Chap standing behind us at check in.
Dubai even worse than before with a shorter connection time this time. I have to confess I intercepted a bloke with a wheelchair and hijacked him. We made it, but only just. Sorry to whoever had to wait a bit longer.

Speaking to the FA once airborne she said that she'd seen (on flights from either Delhi or Islamabad) 100 wheel chairs lined up on the airbridge. Because you get red priority chitties for going through immigration!
On arrival backat GLA once again someone was waiting for her.
Why Emirates took the risk to their reputation by outsourcing this service beats me.
It is clearly a variable feast depending on so many different factors it is difficult to form a considered opinion.

The Ancient Mariner

ExXB
29th Mar 2018, 12:32
What just doesn't make sense to me is that airports are entitled to bill their costs to the airlines. All costs are shared amongst all airlines in proportion to their passengers.

There is no reason to cut costs here. None whatsoever.

That is, unless the airline's money is being diverted for other purposes, or someone's pocket.

abL1011
22nd Apr 2018, 10:11
Last summer for the first time I needed assistance to get around the airports I could still walk, but only short distances.
We were flying outbound Manchester - Heathrow - Berlin and returning Vienna - Manchester

Manchester : Taken by wheelchair through security left in a designated area in departure lounge and then taken to aircraft for boarding. All good

Heathrow : No wheelchairs on arrival for me or the other 3 passengers needing assistance. We managed to walk part way up the air bridge to a row of seats. After about 30 minutes of waiting I decide to walk the rest of the way into Terminal 5. The glass doors were locked and a member of staff on the other side mouthed to me and my wife " what are you doing there?" . Her pass would not open the door so she had to get a colleague. I explained that I'd been waiting for a wheelchair so she said she'd go and get me one, to which I said " and what about the other 3 who are waiting down the air bridge". I decide to struggle on without a wheelchair. Absolutely shocking!

Berlin : As I left the aircraft there was a wheelchair waiting for me. The young lady had my name and she took me through security, to baggage reclaim and the out to a taxi. Brilliant service

Vienna : couldn't find the assistance desk but I was able to make my own way to the gate. Prior to boarding my name was called and I was taken to the aircraft along with another passenger and boarded the the aircraft before all other passengers. : All good

Manchester arrival. Wheelchairs waiting on arrival for me and the other passenger. Taken through arrivals, baggage reclaim and out to the bus stand for the car park buses.: Excellent.

So of the airports I travelled through the only bad experience was at Heathrow.

S.o.S.
22nd Apr 2018, 16:59
Thanks for the report abl1011. I hope that you send this to HAL. It is no surprise that their website gives no names but I hope someone in this cabin knows who the 'MD of Wheel Chairs' is:

Heathrow Airport Limited
The Compass Centre, Nelson Road, Hounslow TW6 2GW

Since the name quoted in the BBC article at the start of this thread is: John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO, that's a good place to start!

Hokulea
23rd Apr 2018, 08:26
Thank you abL1011. Your Heathrow experience is very similar to ours. When we were asked if we could walk a short distance we did it but it was longer than we expected. Sometimes people who are able-bodied do not realise how much of a struggle and a painful experience it can be to walk a few hundred yards. Other busy airports around the world cope with disabled people; there is no excuse for Heathrow.

wiggy
23rd Apr 2018, 11:23
It is no surprise that their website gives no names but I hope someone in this cabin knows who the 'MD of Wheel Chairs' is.....



HAL “own” this but as with almost everything in the U.K. the PRM service has been subbed out, in this case to a company called Omniserve.

Contact details for both HAL and Omniserve can be found through the “contact us” page here:

https://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/special-assistance/how-to-get-help

ExXB
23rd Apr 2018, 12:12
EU Regulation 1107/2006

Article 8

Responsibility for assistance at airports

1. The managing body of an airport shall be responsible for ensuring the provision of the assistance specified in Annex I without additional charge to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.
2. The managing body may provide such assistance itself. Alternatively, in keeping with its responsibility, and subject always to compliance with the quality standards referred to in Article 9(1), the managing body may contract with one or more other parties for the supply of the assistance. In cooperation with airport users, through the Airport Users Committee where one exists, the managing body may enter into such a contract or contracts on its own initiative or on request, including from an air carrier, and taking into account the existing services at the airport concerned. In the event that it refuses such a request, the managing body shall provide written justification.
3. The managing body of an airport may, on a non-discriminatory basis, levy a specific charge on airport users for the purpose of funding this assistance.
4. This specific charge shall be reasonable, cost-related, transparent and established by the managing body of the airport in cooperation with airport users, through the Airport Users Committee where one exists or any other appropriate entity. It shall be shared among airport users in proportion to the total number of all passengers that each carries to and from that airport.
5. The managing body of an airport shall separate the accounts of its activities relating to the assistance provided to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility from the accounts of its other activities, in accordance with current commercial practice.
6. The managing body of an airport shall make available to airport users, through the Airport Users Committee where one exists or any other appropriate entity, as well as to the enforcement body or bodies referred to in Article 14, an audited annual overview of charges received and expenses made in respect of the assistance provided to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.


Article 9

Quality standards for assistance

1. With the exception of airports whose annual traffic is less than 150 000 commercial passenger movements, the managing body shall set quality standards for the assistance specified in Annex I and determine resource requirements for meeting them, in cooperation with airport users, through the Airport Users Committee where one exists, and organisations representing disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility.
2. In the setting of such standards, full account shall be taken of internationally recognised policies and codes of conduct concerning facilitation of the transport of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility, notably the ECAC Code of Good Conduct in Ground Handling for Persons with Reduced Mobility.
3. The managing body of an airport shall publish its quality standards.
4. An air carrier and the managing body of an airport may agree that, for the passengers whom that air carrier transports to and from the airport, the managing body shall provide assistance of a higher standard than the standards referred to in paragraph 1 or provide services additional to those specified in Annex I.
5. For the purpose of funding either of these, the managing body may levy a charge on the air carrier additional to that referred to in Article 8(3), which shall be transparent, cost‐related and established after consultation of the air carrier concerned.

Article 14

Enforcement body and its tasks

1. Each Member State shall designate a body or bodies responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation as regards flights departing from or arriving at airports situated in its territory. Where appropriate, this body or bodies shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility are respected, including compliance with the quality standards referred to in Article 9(1). The Member States shall inform the Commission of the body or bodies designated.
2. Member States shall, where appropriate, provide that the enforcement body or bodies designated under paragraph 1 shall also ensure the satisfactory implementation of Article 8, including as regards the provisions on charges with a view to avoiding unfair competition. They may also designate a specific body to that effect.
Article 15

Complaint procedure

1. A disabled person or person with reduced mobility who considers that this Regulation has been infringed may bring the matter to the attention of the managing body of the airport or to the attention of the air carrier concerned, as the case may be.
2. If the disabled person or person with reduced mobility cannot obtain satisfaction in such way, complaints may be made to any body or bodies designated under Article 14(1), or to any other competent body designated by a Member State, about an alleged infringement of this Regulation.
3. A body in one Member State which receives a complaint concerning a matter that comes under the responsibility of a designated body of another Member State shall forward the complaint to the body of that other Member State.
4. The Member States shall take measures to inform disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility of their rights under this Regulation and of the possibility of complaint to this designated body or bodies.

I believe the UK CAA is the (in)competent body.

PAXboy
26th Apr 2018, 18:01
I didn't want to start yet another thread so an tagging on this example of 'Thomas Cook breaks Wheelchairs' song: (https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/thomas-cook-flight-wheelchair-broken-woman-damages-luggage-plane-cuba-a8323636.html)
Becky Gaunt was offered £500 to replace her wheelchair worth £2,500

Peter47
1st May 2018, 09:09
Whilst in general I am a fan of the EU often the left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing. One Directorate issues regulations lead to the requirement to outsource ground handling which has led to a race to the bottom - it would probably be of higher quality if done in house. Another Directorate lays down requirements which were probably not considered by the first one. My 2 pence worth anyway.

ExXB
1st May 2018, 09:39
Peter47. The regulation was brought in for one reason. A certain Irish LCC implemented a handling charge for PRMs. The Commission and the Parliament fearing a race to the bottom, decided to require that PRMs be provided with assistance without an additional charge. To ensure consistency they decided that the airports would be responsible - and that the airports could not make a profit, but only bill the airlines serving said airport on a per-passenger basis. i.e. If BA has 47*% of the passenger total at Heathrow they would pay 47% of Heathrow's total PRM costs. (*This is a guess, I have no idea what the actual number is).

As this Regulation was being developed the network airlines, at least, wanted to be able to decide if they would provide PRM assistance for their passengers. Their arguments failed.

This has worked almost everywhere in the EU, however some UK airports are well behind the curve.

Hartington
2nd May 2018, 08:18
I've recently seen a number of signs on disabled toilet doors along the lines of "not all disabilities are visible".

This discussion has focused on wheelchairs (and yes, that was/is the subject line) but PRM covers a much wider range. Indeed "assistance" covers an even larger range and could ,for example, include interpreters (for language or sign language).

In my view we're only scratching the surface both in this thread and in what happens in life generally.

ExXB
2nd May 2018, 10:42
Harrington,
The EU regulation does not define PRMs. Literally it is any passenger who requests assistance. The airports must provide assistance for everyone that requests it. No ifs, no ands, no buts, no anguish on it’s effect on airport management bonuses. And they know this.

SamYeager
2nd May 2018, 18:01
HAL “own” this but as with almost everything in the U.K. the PRM service has been subbed out, in this case to a company called Omniserve.

Contact details for both HAL and Omniserve can be found through the “contact us” page here:

https://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/special-assistance/how-to-get-help

Under "About Omniserve" it includes a link to a service level agreement (SLA) from which the following excerpts may be of interest:


Departing Passengers
Pre-booked (36 hours in advance)
• 97% of all departing passengers with reduced mobility are not kept waiting any longer than 10
minutes from request from customer service.
• 99% of all departing passengers with reduced mobility are not kept waiting any longer than 17
minutes from request from customer service.
• 100% of all departing passengers with reduced mobility are not kept waiting any longer than 30
minutes from request from customer service.
• 100% of all pre-booked departing passengers will arrive at the boarding gate in time to meet their
flight
• 100% of all pre-booked passengers on connecting flights through Heathrow arrive at the boarding
gate in time to meet their departing flight


Arriving Passengers
Pre-booked (36 hours in advance)
• 96%: Attend pre-notified arriving passengers with reduced mobility within 5 minutes with first
agent from request for customer service.
• 99%: Attend all subsequent arriving passengers with reduced mobility within 15 minutes for
request for customer service.
• 100%: Attend all subsequent arriving passengers with reduced mobility within 20 minutes for
request for customer service.


Sadly the SLA doesn't include any wording to cover what should happen in the event the SLA is breached but it might be a useful bit of ammunition for someone to use.

ExXB
3rd May 2018, 12:32
I don’t understand this. Passengers who have prebooked the service should not have to wait 1 minute.

The Commission did not want any requirement for advance booking, but agreed to it when the airports argued they needed this period to prepare their teams.

PAXboy
3rd May 2018, 12:59
Delays can be caused by:

'Late arrival of inbound aircraft'
Doing some shopping on the way to the gate
The person request visiting the toilet before getting to the gate/passport/customs/terminal
The pax accompanying the person requesting any of the above

ExXB
3rd May 2018, 13:48
Delays can be caused by:

'Late arrival of inbound aircraft'


You would think that the airport team would have a good idea of the time the aircraft will actually arrive at the gate. If they don't they should. Other airports seem to manage, but not British ones. It must be the wrong kind of rain on the aprons.

Mark in CA
11th May 2018, 12:24
A friend is considering travel from the US West Coast to Eastern Europe. This person suffered a serious stroke several years ago, has been fine since and walks OK, but still has some trouble with balance and, hence, things like stairs and escalators, and needs to avoid long walks (like from one end of FRA to the other). In my experience as a normal traveler, I find US airports much friendlier in general than European ones as far as passengers getting onto and (especially) off of aircraft and general navigation from one gate to another.

Are there generally adequate services at airports to deal with departing, connecting and arriving passengers with such needs? How are these arranged? How reliable are they? Other tips?

rog747
11th May 2018, 13:45
A friend is considering travel from the US West Coast to Eastern Europe. This person suffered a serious stroke several years ago, has been fine since and walks OK, but still has some trouble with balance and, hence, things like stairs and escalators, and needs to avoid long walks (like from one end of FRA to the other). In my experience as a normal traveler, I find US airports much friendlier in general than European ones as far as passengers getting onto and (especially) off of aircraft and general navigation from one gate to another.

Are there generally adequate services at airports to deal with departing, connecting and arriving passengers with such needs? How are these arranged? How reliable are they? Other tips?

sorry to learn of your friends' stroke - if he gets the OK to fly from his Dr - is he OK to travel unaccompanied?
if that is OK then as long as assistance is correctly pre booked with the airline then a Wchr or buggy from check-in to the aircraft will be arranged and off the aircraft to baggage claim and through customs

your friend may blanche at a WCHR assistance but frankly if he is on his own and has balance and walking issues affected by that then the sensible option is to ask for a booked Wchr assistance or at least buggy right through to the gate and off at the arrival

ExXB
11th May 2018, 14:00
Check with the airline. Depending on the severity of the condition he may need prior approval. He also may need an escort, for example if he cannot make his way to and with the toilet.

In the US it is the airlines responsibility to provide assistance but in the EU++, it is the airport. However, in both cases, request the assistance from the airline and, where possible, 72 hours in advance.

Avoid connecting flights if possible. If connecting avoid U.K. airports - a search here will tell you why.

Mark in CA
11th May 2018, 14:24
My friend has flown US domestically alone and was OK. The main concern here is 1) making the connection between flights (no way to avoid at least one) and 2) the less friendly design of many European airports (lots of stairs, especially at arrival gates). My friend can likely manage getting on and off the plane solo, and no problem with lavatory, etc. Otherwise, my friend is quite independent, drives alone, shops, cooks, cleans, etc.

tescoapp
11th May 2018, 14:42
Depends which airport to be honest. I can think of more than a few that it really won't be a problem if booked more than 72 hours in advance. And they will get met with a smile and looked after no problems. I can also think of others eg London Heathrow where the experience will not be pleasant.,

rog747
11th May 2018, 14:44
My friend has flown US domestically alone and was OK. The main concern here is 1) making the connection between flights (no way to avoid at least one) and 2) the less friendly design of many European airports (lots of stairs, especially at arrival gates). My friend can likely manage getting on and off the plane solo, and no problem with lavatory, etc. Otherwise, my friend is quite independent, drives alone, shops, cooks, cleans, etc.

where is he going in East Euro? maybe find a connection point that is smaller and less busy - trouble is most EU hubs are all now massive - even Vienna and zurich are.

if he is going to Poland then LOT fly direct to Warsaw from the USA so the connection could be in the US...

its probably best to to book assistance all the way through as any stress during the trip and connecting could be negative for him

S.o.S.
11th May 2018, 19:19
We have recently discussed this in the Cabin of PPRuNe and the key is to avoid Heathrow.

In due course, if you can, feedback your friends experience, it helps others - as the linked thread demonstrates.

Mark in CA
12th May 2018, 10:03
Depends which airport to be honest. I can think of more than a few that it really won't be a problem if booked more than 72 hours in advance. And they will get met with a smile and looked after no problems. I can also think of others eg London Heathrow where the experience will not be pleasant.,

The flight will be to Budapest, and so the usual suspects for connections from the US West Coast are LHR, FRA, CDG, ZRH and MUC. Others with only one stop from the West Coast? Austrian/VIE? From what I've been reading here, LHR is a non-starter in this instance. Who knows of Air France will be operating in September. That would mean only FRA, MUC and ZRH.

Another concern I have is the possibility of missing a connection and what would happen then, especially if it involved an overnight stay. Does the PRM service extend beyond the airport?

tescoapp
12th May 2018, 10:49
See if you can get HEL or ARN both airports are good. And then you could use say Airbaltic to get them to BUD. Riga airport is excellent for meet and assist and has a very high English standard and Airbaltic look after their punters.

With this sort of thing its usually easier to reverse the trip so go to the BUD airport website and see which flights go out and then make plans backwards.

AMS although big is pretty solid.

I don't have a clue what the official method of dealing with PRM's if caught in a overnight delay once they are out of my care sorry.

ExXB
12th May 2018, 15:38
The airline is responsible for the costs of a missed connection,

Johnny [email protected] Pants
12th May 2018, 17:03
See if you can get HEL or ARN both airports are good. And then you could use say Airbaltic to get them to BUD.

That would then involve 2 separate bookings, and if the flight from the USA is late the airlines are not responsible. It is an absolute must that your friend should book a through ticket on one reservation. I would also recommend you investigate routes where there are more than one flight from their transit airport to Budapest exists, then if they miss their intended flight there is another that the airline can put them on. Despite what people have said I would consider Heathrow as well as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt, all of which will have multiple flights to Budapest, so will have the contingency needed.

wiggy
12th May 2018, 21:18
Very much agree with Johnny FP’s comments on this.....whilst a single booking might force you to use what many might regard as a sub-optimal airport/airline combination it does provide some degree of protection against a missed connection....

ExXB
13th May 2018, 05:52
Yes but it is still possible to get a single ticket involving more than one airline. In the example Air Baltic is in the MITA and would accept an interline ticket issued by another airline.

Mark in CA
17th May 2018, 13:34
Thanks for all your suggestions.

Can't say I've ever seen a routing between the US West Coast and Budapest that involves either HEL or ARN. AMS is common, however, and KLM often have one of the lower costs.

It appears the EU has some pretty strict guidelines for providing services at airports to PRMs, including having to have assistance provided within 15 minutes of arrival at a request point in the airport even without advance warning.

Considering the seriousness of the stroke my friend had, it's amazing how far they've come, being able to be self-sufficient, including the ability to drive. I'm sure this trip won't be too much of a stretch, but it 's still best to be prepared and take advantage of the services offered as needed.

ExXB
17th May 2018, 15:00
Mark, ALWAYS give advance warning. And avoid UK airports.

tescoapp
21st May 2018, 16:13
If you can get the phl there is a direct flight tobud. AA all the way from L.A. One stop 20 hours from what I can see.

Mark in CA
22nd May 2018, 10:03
If you can get the phl there is a direct flight tobud. AA all the way from L.A. One stop 20 hours from what I can see.
Yes, thanks, I am aware of this new service on American Airlines. Still, there are many options for 1-stop service to BUD from LAX, and in my experience you are better off flying non-stop from the West Coast to some airport in Europe than stopping on the East Coast.

777humility
9th Jun 2018, 09:21
PRM handling was my first airport job in one the the major international airport in Africa AKA Wakanda kingdom. Its a lovely job and it makes one to appreciate humanity and to love the most. It most cases I know it's an airline job to organize for the processing of PRM passengers. Some airlines do it directly while others do opt for a third party contractor to do the job. WCHR is never that serious and so in most cases may not need DR clearance but just a notification to the airline. WCHS in most cases are those with medical conditions and so they need Dr clearance and the DR must be recognized by the airline you are flying. That job was sweet and it made me to understand disability and learn more about extreme medical conditions

Piltdown Man
14th Jun 2018, 09:05
Mark, ALWAYS give advance warning. And avoid UK airports.

And Dublin must also be added to that list. I think that OCS in DUB provide the worst Special Assistance service in Europe. In the few years I’ve flown into and out of this place not once have they ever been on time. A typical wait is 15 minutes after the last able bodied person has left. Their record is 45 minutes.

Regulation (EC) N° 1107/2006 demands airport’s provide a service that enables people with reduced mobility on a equal basis with able bodied passengers. This clearly does not happen at various airports. Maybe it’s about time an airport or two was taken to court in order to send a message that the dreadful service currently on offer is unacceptable.

PM

S.o.S.
14th Jun 2018, 12:17
This recent forum thread is also relevant: Heathrow wheelchairs (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/607042-heathrow-wheelchair-users.html)

777humility
14th Jun 2018, 18:27
PRM handling is one sweet job. PRM handling actually was my first airport job and doing the WCHR,WCHS and WCHC requires nothing but a super positive motive. Where I was working the airlines had the responsibility when it comes to PRM and I still do believe that the PRM handling is best done when obligated to the airlines as the airlines knows the passengers right away from the ticket booking stage which is the first travelling stage. People with disability requires the best and allow me to say that I can still do this job during a holiday or free days when I happen to get one. In Africa where I come from most airports do amazing work when it comes to handling PRM which is not limited to Wheelchair but also extended to blind passengers, unaccompanied minors and even some non dangerous deportee passengers in short doing special services is a good job. In fact if you want this services be done to you even in own home then my DM is free you can contact me . Disability handling is one thing that must be seriously taken care of even outside the aviation/airport environment. Anyone who requires this services outside the airport in a places like homes should contact me. No one chooses to be disable and being disable must not limit one's movement or limit what they can in the society

777humility
15th Jun 2018, 07:20
I've recently seen a number of signs on disabled toilet doors along the lines of "not all disabilities are visible".

This discussion has focused on wheelchairs (and yes, that was/is the subject line) but PRM covers a much wider range. Indeed "assistance" covers an even larger range and could ,for example, include interpreters (for language or sign language).

In my view we're only scratching the surface both in this thread and in what happens in life generally.
yes assistance covers not only wheelchairs but also other defined disability or limitations.

PAXboy
13th Jul 2018, 04:55
I don't want to start yet another thread and this report does not single out Heathrow but refers to others in more detail. (S.o.S. perhaps merge threads?)
Four of the UK's 30 biggest airports are falling short in providing access for disabled travellers, the Civil Aviation Authority said.London Gatwick airport, criticised by BBC journalist and wheelchair user Frank Gardner last year, (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38555818) is named as failing to meet expectations.

Birmingham and London Stansted airports are also in need of improvement, the CAA said.

Bottom of the list is Manchester, rated as "poor" for the second year running.


Four airports found to be failing disabled passengers (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44807283)

S.o.S.
13th Jul 2018, 23:05
What? Pax telling the Cabin Services Director what to do? The cheek of it … :hmm:

amf1966
18th Jul 2018, 18:02
If this is considered OT, then I apologise and mods feel free to remove.

As some have said, "assistance" covers a broad spectrum - and I can talk to my own experiences as a blind (oh sorry, visually impaired) person.

To be clear - I see nothing, nada, zilch - not even whether the lights are on or not.

My eyes, however, are the only body part that doesn't work well.

I travel frequently, and one of my personal gripes is being forced to wait for everyone else on the plane to get off before the "asistance" is available to guide me through the airport.

Even then, insistence on putting me in a wheelchair or buggy when I am fitter than the average person is: a) infuriating as I actually want to stretch my legs and b) somewhat embarrassing.

I am fortunate enough to travel, more often than not, in business class or first cabins and it drives me mad to have the facility to get off amongst the first passengers to leave but being told to wait until the entire plane is empty.

I need to shout out to BA here - one of my carriers of choice - when I explain this situation to cabin crew, often-times a member of the crew will actually escort me through the airport immediately after landing and I am able to get off the plane just like any other passenger (I have sent complementary messages to BA naming the staff that went above and beyond but have never received acknowledgement so can only hope the staff concerned do learn of my complements).

US airports - well there's a whole new topic - very helpful yes, but they have one way of doing things and you'd better comply with that or be prepared for a hard time!

I am not unreasonable, "assistance" is an additional service that the majority of passengers won't need and you could therefore consider it to be reasonable that one would need to wait occassionally, but my experience is, apart from helpful BA staff, that you always need to wait (up to an hour sometimes after doors open).

A couple of times, i have just gone myself and "followed the crowd" but then that brings challenges at passport control and baggage reclaim as you can imagine - but then you see the best of human kindness, and other passengers readily offer help - but it isn't fair to expect that at all.

Summary? I know that "assistance" is an additional service, but it has no flexibility to adjust to the individual circumstance, is executed very badly in terms of timeliness and then there is the somewhat defficient manners and language skills of those employed to consider.

I think it could be vastly improved, but where is the insentive. By paying (in the UK) airports to run the service, what are they going to do? Run it barebones, hope they get away with it and pocket the proffit of course.

Just a nod to the onboard experience here to complete the picture. My experience on my regular cariers, BA, Virgin and American - perfect, I have never had anything but brilliant service and assistance when i need it - so well done and thanks you guys...

S.o.S.
19th Jul 2018, 13:52
Thanks amf1966, good to hear positive stories. The frustration of waiting to be escorted when you do not need to be must irritating at times.

PAXboy
7th Aug 2018, 18:48
Accidental, he says, but BBC man delayed again. BBC web news. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45103327)

BAengineer
8th Aug 2018, 00:58
Be interested to know how you can lock yourself in a highlift

S.o.S.
8th Aug 2018, 04:21
Perhaps they were not engineers...? Welcome to the PPRuNe cabin BAengineer!

vctenderness
8th Aug 2018, 16:50
It also reports the wheelchair was passed out of a window on the aircraft.

unless I’m missing new inovations the only windows that can open are on the flight deck. How do you pass a wheelchair out through them?

PAXboy
8th Aug 2018, 16:59
Yes, I noticed that window and thought, if they get the wheelchair out of the window of the High Lift - how do they get the pax out ... it does sound like 21st century 5th hand journo. I was once interviewed on the phone by someone about an event, at which I was the key note speaker, with detail backed up by a reporter who had been at the event - and the number of errors was astonishing and that was in The Daily Telegraph! So they are many levels of incompetence.

This article is about travelling with a disability in any mode but starts with this :
Every day brings news of novel, cruel and unusual indignities inflicted on a human daring to travel while disabled. In the latest demoralising example, Steve Smithers was prevented from flying for the crime of carrying spanners, in case he used them to “dismantle the plane” instead of adjusting his wheelchair. It would take a time-rich, engineering-genius-meets-world’s strongest man to do that, not someone paralysed from the chest down.
I this Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/08/travelling-disabled-hell-institutional-change-kindness) they link the story of Mr Smithers.

edi_local
8th Aug 2018, 19:34
He states "The wheelchair had to be dismantled, passed through the lift window, and then reassembled before he was helped down the stairs."

I read that and assumed it was too big to fit through the door of the high lift vehicle, so it was taken apart and passed through the window, then assembled again.

The comparison with Cambodia doesn't sit right with me. If anything that is extremely degrading to be carried up the stairs like a child, in the rain. I'm not sure why he saw that as suitable assistance. That's worse than what happened at LHR, where there were trained,dedicated staff on hand to assist, albeit with a mishap. Cambodia may be a poor country, but it's airports should still meet international regulations with regards to disabled services. Admittedly he doesn't state which airport it was, it could have been a small airfield, but if it has scheduled services, especially international or wide body, then it should definitely not need a disabled passenger to be carried up stairs by the flight deck.

PAXboy
27th Aug 2018, 10:28
... and another one ...
Paralympian left stranded on Stansted flight after staff delay.
Anne Wafula Strike had to wait on board her disembarked flight for 45 minutes despite having booked assistance.
The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/26/paralympian-left-stranded-on-stansted-flight-after-staff-delay)

PAXboy
2nd Nov 2018, 16:21
... and another one ... Luton this time. He plans to sue them.
The image is shocking: Justin Levene, a paraplegic man, dragging himself along the floor through Luton Airport after his self-propelling wheelchair was left behind on a flight.
BBC news (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45765767)

KelvinD
2nd Nov 2018, 18:00
I hope he loses. From interviews on the BBC this afternoon, the airport did all they could to help him but he refused offers of a substitute wheelchair as it didn't suit him. He claimed he was afraid of "developing pressure sores". I wonder how his arse managed in that case, with an umpteen hundred yard scrape across the terminal floor?

whisperer
2nd Nov 2018, 18:05
Sue them for what, his own decision?
from the news story

" At the airport, staff offered to push him through the terminal on a high-backed wheelchair - an option he rejected as degrading." and "He asked if he could instead be transported in a motorised buggy. However, Luton does not have one."

Instead he decided to make his own way in what, by any standard, was a degrading manner and then have the termacity to complain.


Battle bowler on, awaiting incoming......................

Planemike
2nd Nov 2018, 18:27
Pressure sores take a while to develop. Justin was offered help: he chose not to use it. His choice.....
The airport had not lost his chair, they were trying to help him. In the circumstances, a little gratitude
might have been acceptable.
Seemed more intent on making a point rather than travelling from A to B.

TURIN
2nd Nov 2018, 19:26
I heard the interview on the radio and my first impression was 'what a self rightious and pompous dick'. However, on reflection, I do not know what trials he has had to go through in the past and his frustration may well be understandable. Pressure sores though? Really?

Hotel Tango
3rd Nov 2018, 00:26
I have to side with those above. I'm of the opinion the airport offered him a more than suitable alternative. I'm afraid that 'self rightious and pompous dick' may well be apt in this instance.

KelvinD
3rd Nov 2018, 07:11
Phew! When I posted my comment (#61) above, I was a tad nervous, thinking I may have had the JB equivalent of the boots kicking in the door!
I saw last night on the BBC web page a photo of the complainer dragging himself through the airport. He and others have commented that other passengers seemed unconcerned as they passed by him. Then who took the photo? And where was his baggage?

karona
3rd Nov 2018, 07:49
How did he get off the plane?
How did he get across the tarmac to the terminal?
How did he get to, and through, passport control?
How did he get to baggage reclaim, where he found his chair was missing?
Where was he sat while the special assistance team were running round like bluebottles trying to find his chair?

He was sat in a 'degrading' high back, industry approved, weapons grade construction, airport standard chair, 'strapped in' by a cross-lap safety belt.

My lady-love has spent many hours in identical chairs, and has never suffered 'pressure sores' yet.

Suggesting that the Special Assistance Teams are degrading to the people they assist is the real disgusting thing about this story.

He threw a strop after he was told that somebody had cocked-up at a different airport and declared "I'm not going anywhere in this effin chair!"

sixchannel
3rd Nov 2018, 10:31
Pressure sores take a while to develop. Justin was offered help: he chose not to use it. His choice.....
The airport had not lost his chair, they were trying to help him. In the circumstances, a little gratitude
might have been acceptable.
Seemed more intent on making a point rather than travelling from A to B.
±1 on that.
However talented he may or may not be (I've never heard of him) IMO he took advantage of the situation for his own publicity. He clearly wasnt on his own - ''someone' took the many photos, ''someone' carried his baggage even if it was walk on bag, '''someone' got the luggage trolley. And he refused what help they COULD offer. Matyrdom? Compo? Fame? Pathetic?
A Set Up comes to mind.

Hotel Tango
3rd Nov 2018, 11:51
A Set Up comes to mind.

....in order to try and make some money too perhaps? For me he's sailing very close to fraud!

scr1
3rd Nov 2018, 18:39
With out knowing what went wrong here, My wife is confirmed to a wheelchair. The high backed chairs are uncomfortable and having to be strapped in is degrading.

Observations of recent travels and using PRM services

INV,ABZ,TLV,LPA great nothing was to much trouble.
LHR waited for ages to be taken of the a/c
LGW great staff obviously understaffed and struggling
FRA high tech equipment but arrogant staff
LTN just had their hands out for tips

S.o.S.
4th Nov 2018, 00:56
Thanks for helping with balancing the books scr1.

flash8
4th Nov 2018, 12:06
Most of us don't know what this guy was guying through, most of us don't know the full circumstances and most of us aren't in a wheelchair. When I comment I generally try to make sure I actually know something about the subject so to be fair to the guy (and he's in a position none of us envy) there may well be circumstances we simply aren't aware of. He should be given the benefit of the doubt.

sixchannel
4th Nov 2018, 13:37
And then again, he may be wanting his 15 minutes of Fame.
I'd love to know where his wonderfully unhelpful travelling companions were and how THEY were helping, apart from taking photos and ringing the Press that is.
Cynical? Perhaps but i'll happily retract it on receipt of such information.
Was it SO "degrading' to be temporarily strapped to a wheely chair for his own Safety for a length of time that wouldn't have been very long - its not that big an airport - that he chose to 'drag himself' through the Arrivals Hall? And I read elsewhere that he was quite potty mouthed to the very people who were trying to assist him.
Still smells of Set Up to me.

KelvinD
4th Nov 2018, 14:45
This business of being strapped in a wheelchair being "degrading" sounds a bit off too. (Apologies to scr1). If you are in a wheelchair that is being driven by another, you have no control over how that journey will pan out. Maybe the airport should offer an indemnity form for the user to sign, disclaiming all potential claims against the airport in the event of careless wheelchair handling, resulting in the user being thrown out and possibly injured.
And how is this idea of "degrading" any different to dragging yourself across the airport on your arse? I wonder if the claimant is going to include claims that this activity was degrading as a part of his law suit?

Mr Optimistic
5th Nov 2018, 18:25
Why do the media push these trivial stories? Is it because they are sympathetic or is it to start a fight? In terms of what else is going on, so what. Must say I am in less sympathetic corner.

SLFAussie
5th Nov 2018, 20:13
I've just had to go through a process of explaining to colleagues how to position equipment so that wheelchair users can retain their independence, which, along with dignity is lost when people become paraplegic or quadriplegic. There seemed to be a lack of imagination about how to deal with the with - problem "oh, there will be someone to help", was the first response. This man, after his own wheelchair was "left behind on a flight", and finding that the airport didn't have a basic wheelchair that he could operate himself, opted to maintain his independence instead being strapped into a wheelchair and relying on someone else to wheel it through the airport, something that he felt was less dignified than getting there himself. Kudos to him for dealing with the airline and airport's service failures himself. Hopefully the publicity will improve service standards.

sixchannel
5th Nov 2018, 21:43
I've just had to go through a process of explaining to colleagues how to position equipment so that wheelchair users can retain their independence, which, along with dignity is lost when people become paraplegic or quadriplegic. There seemed to be a lack of imagination about how to deal with the with - problem "oh, there will be someone to help", was the first response. This man, after his own wheelchair was "left behind on a flight", and finding that the airport didn't have a basic wheelchair that he could operate himself, opted to maintain his independence instead being strapped into a wheelchair and relying on someone else to wheel it through the airport, something that he felt was less dignified than getting there himself. Kudos to him for dealing with the airline and airport's service failures himself. Hopefully the publicity will improve service standards.
He didnt 'deal' with anything. He just self publisised. IMO he made himself look a fool.

PAXboy
6th Nov 2018, 00:29
From what I have read and the contribution from scr1, I think that the man did NOT look a fool to himself. It seems that he did what he felt was right for him. If he did not feel like a 'fool' then that is good for him. If others thiink him a fool, then that is their view.

KelvinD
8th Nov 2018, 06:44
And now the Luton whiner has dropped his court action. He says it is because Luton has now purchased 10 self-drive wheelchairs. Well, who am I to be sceptical???

B Fraser
8th Nov 2018, 07:46
I wonder on what grounds he would have based a legal case ? The airport efficiently offered a suitable alternative chair as a result of the airline (not the airport) losing his own chair. It was not to his preferred design but presumably complied in full with the relevant standards. Luton Airport have now acquired 10 wheelchairs that he deems acceptable. What happens when the next user objects to the colour ?

I also herniated a disc some years ago and was offered surgery. The surgeon commented that it would fix itself in about the same timescale post op so I decided to take that route. In the case of the complainant, he opted for surgery and it went wrong. I have some sympathy for the bloke but there was no reason for him to behave like a ****. At least the floor got a good polish.

PAXboy
19th Nov 2018, 19:43
This is yet another Heathrow event but with a worse outcome:
A man with disabilities collapsed at Heathrow Airport while waiting for a booked wheelchair that failed to turn up, his family have said. He has now been released from hospital.
BBC news (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-46253991)

jdenni_scadcollab
10th Feb 2019, 14:34
Hello! We are undergraduate students studying at Savannah College of Art and Design. Our team is researching the experience disabled passengers have at airports. Based on our research so far we have come up with a few questions to help us better understand your experiences. If you have travelled by air in the last 2-3 years, please feel free to answer any or all of the questions below. We appreciate your help and thank you for your time!


Questions


How often do you travel by air?

Which airport would you normally travel from?

How far in advance do you purchase your tickets?

What is your primary form of travel to the airport?

How early do you get to the airport and why?

Do you require special assistance at the airport?

What parts of the service were satisfying?

What would you like to change about the service?


What are your main concerns with air travel?

Do you ever shop/dine at the airport?

What parts of the service were satisfying?

What would you like to change about the service?


Have you faced any issues going through airport security?

Do you travel with family or a personal caretaker?

Have you faced any issues boarding flights?

Do you ever use airport lounges?

S.o.S.
11th Feb 2019, 00:00
Hello jdenni_scadcollab, you are welcome. I see that the Savannah College has several campuses, which one are you based at?
Where do you plan to use the data you gather? Is it for a term project?

I hope that some of our members are able to help with feedback.

jdenni_scadcollab
11th Feb 2019, 08:34
It is a class project for SCAD and we are in Europe as a study abroad experience with the school. The information we are gathering is for a project to improve services for disabled passengers in airports. The class project is collaborating with a potential business start up aiming to provide this service in airports, and our class project involes producing a service innovation proposal for them.