Disability specialists have claimed that thanks to new legislation disabled people are finding it easier to travel, but indicated that there was still room for improvement.
Tourism for All, a charity focusing on accessible tourism services for the disabled and the elderly claimed that the industry had a duty to provide equal travel opportunities, claiming that improvements in air travel had been won on the back of hard lobbying.
Recent legislation from the European Commission (EC) stipulated that air carriers, agents and tour operators are not permitted to refuse a reservation from a passenger or deny them boarding to an aircraft on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility – except if a safety concern is raised.
Brian Seaman, spokesperson for Tourism for All, said: "The airports themselves, where it’s a built environment, all have a duty to make their properties and facilities available to people with disabilities, under the Disability Discrimination Act legislation. There’s been an awful lot of people trying to encourage the businesses, airlines and airports to do more… It’s only through encouragement that all these businesses have made changes."
The group added that the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee was currently looking into the layout and configuration of new aeroplanes, including aspects like toilet size and extra floor space, in a bid to ensure that new models are as accessible as possible.