Research carried out by Amadeus reveals that although more than two billion people worldwide have accessibility needs due to disability or age, their requirements are not being full catered for by either the travel industry or the public sector.
The study found that one of the biggest barriers to accessible travel is inaccurate or incomplete information alongside a lack of skilled customer service. Travellers with special needs said they’ve come to expect their needs to be accommodated for as part of the mainstream at no extra cost.
Overall, study participants rated their travel experience and how it’s adapted to accessibility needs at 6.2 out of ten. The least satisfactory areas are railway stations (4.9), while the most accessible aspect of travel is accommodation (6.2). Trouble with trains could be the reason planes are the preferred mode of transportation by 35.9 per cent of respondents.
When asked what could improve travel accessibility, the most cited solutions were effective communication of relevant information and a responsive service with properly trained staff who can effectively address peoples’ accessibility needs. Furthermore, study participants agreed that the public and private sectors should work together to meet the expectations of travellers with specific requirements.
Alex Luzárraga, vice president of corporate strategy at Amadeus, commented: “Improving accessibility in travel means enhancing usability for all customers. Lifting barriers to travel, personalising the travel offer, using technology to further facilitate travellers’ experiences and creating more accessible infrastructure where people can navigate autonomously will benefit everybody.”