Location – Hyatt Hotel, Room 8
Roberto Castiglioni (RC) – Chair
Panita Vig (PV)
Athena Stevens (AS)
Christiane Link (CL)
Martyn Sibley (MS)
Geraldine Lundy (GL)
Antony Marke (AM) – Omniserv
Paul Stonehouse (PS) – HAL
Azad Batth (AB) – HAL
Nicole Miersch – HAL
Simon Fraser (SF) – HAL
Michael Carver (MC) – British Airways
Feedback on action plan
PV – asked about the accreditation element regarding the training. Was the whole training package being accredited by one group or were the categories being broken down and assed separately be each group. i.e. awareness training – hidden disabilities.
AM – asked to respond. AM started by announcing some new roles and changes to the Omniserv structure. Ernie Patterson will be retiring at the end of October and AM will be taking on the role of Group Managing Director.
AM – a key factor for Omniserv is empathy, as such they were very disappointed by the CAA report. AM gave the team a brief overview of the training given to staff (Ritz Carlton & Disney Training). Omniserv have started to retrain staff. AM also spoke about the STARS team – who receive specialist training and that they are looking to go towards a Stars programme, with further enhanced training for team members (visual badge – the more stars the higher the training).
PV – commented that the Omniserv should look at the training demographic – age group, perception and behaviour.
AM – Omniserv are now training staff in specialist fields, not a one size fits all approach. i.e. Hidden disabilities – low volumes. Have a specialist team that assist these passengers rather than having the complete team who may then only assist one passenger per year.
AM – also stated that Omniserv were very excited to be awarded the new contract.
AM – updated the group on the new structure and a role they are looking to introduce by the end of the year. Head of Innovation &Regulatory Compliance.
GL – stated that she is very excited that the group has been established and is excited by what is happening with the team working together. She thought the improvement plan will work but we must also work together to manage the expectations of delivering this. Reference was also made to the infrastructure challenges.
AS – raised a concern that the survey measure of success was relying upon customer feedback. As her view was that people with disabilities do not often feedback as they feel it’s not worth complaining.
CL – agreed with this.
AS – felt that a ‘mystery shopper’ process would be a good way to the test system and the people’s interaction.
The group discussed the different options for collecting data and feedback.
PS – updated the group on the feedback process and the CAA standard. Also, what we have done at Heathrow to give more options to try and capture more feedback. Business cards, QSM 3rd party (Epinion) and GfK emailing out survey. Heathrow’s volume of feedback is increasing and allowing more depth of knowledge to be obtained from a wider sample size.
PS – spoke to the group about passenger Beth’s experience when arriving back through T2. PS stated that we do not get it right all the time.
GL – commented that she gets to see the high-level complaints. Customers do not hold back. Likes the idea of monitoring feedback and social media. Should we have a social media Special assistance site?
CL – Heathrow has a very active Twitter account, but the responses are poor, staff replying are not trained or focused on PRM needs. Good at questions but not good in complaints or solving issues. In the moment recovery, they are weak.
GL- Virgin have 2 media people who instantly respond and who link directly into the Ops control team for instant action and recovery.
PS – Social media team sit in APOC, can we feed this directly onto Omniserv?
CL – this would lower the barrier for people to be able to complain, target the unique cases, unique situations not everyone will know about.
RC – (pulled the team back onto the main discussion – the plan) – agreement was made from the group that they felt that the Improvement Plan was suitable and fit for purpose.
RC – concluded that there was no further action on the HAL improvement plan.
PS – thanked everybody for taking time to review the plan and their support with the HAAG. Current Operational performance:
AM – gave an update on Septembers performance.
- 116k Passengers assisted
- Crew complaints down
- Continuous arrivals T3 – an improvement of 30 mins in the process.
- GFK score up
- Working on new contract
- Delays good (31) – AM, quoted that there are up to 600 in other airports. Growth 8% YOY
- CAA report
A group discussion was held about what happens if there are failures in service, such as delay. PS – took the group through a high-level summary of the contract measures.
(Performance slide shown)
CL – what was the wait time, root cause.
AM – ad-hoc PRMs, on a typical busy day we would assist 4000 passengers, 1200 of these would-be ad-hoc requests (booked under 30 hours – ECAC standard 48 hours). The team forecast using historical data, though Heathrow, is a two-runway airport operating at 98% capacity, the slightest disruption will impact the operation.
GL – On Time Performance (OTP) – unless airlines operate at 100% there will always be an issue being able to meet targets.
AM – passengers turning up late at landside also result in other passengers waiting as they need to prioritise the late passenger so they don’t miss their flights.
CL – commented that figures are set to meet CAA standards not deliver customer service.
PS – explained the level of service and our intention to deliver an equal service to all passengers. An example of the disembarkation process was discussed, which highlighted why some passengers may be delayed in getting off the aircraft. The typical airline process is that special assistance passengers will be the last to disembark.
AM – we are using airport data to better plan.
CL – enquired how the system worked. Did it use agent time? CL then explained that as a WCHC passengers she was often left waiting for a 2nd agent to arrive and assist with the lift off. She then stated that 90% of the time there would only be 1 x agent.
There was then a short general discussion around the WCHC coding and the use of the free text information.
Next meeting dates:
RC – agreed the next meeting dates with the group:
- 13th December 2017
- 24th January 2018
- 24th April 2018
- 18th July 2018
- 30th October 2018
RC – made comment to the terms of reference and that these had been met. The group will support Heathrow in not falling short of its ambition.
PS – passed his formal thanks to Roberto and the team.
There followed a group discussion about how we bring the different consultative groups and customer groups into one, that feeds into the HAAG to make the recommendations. There was also a discussion about the positive focus and commitment from the group and how does this show itself at a senior level within Heathrow.
PS – stated that there is a strong commitment from Heathrow for us to learn from the HAAG and engage across all areas of the business.
AM – stated that he was excited to be part of the group. He went on to talk through some of the focus areas for them.
- improve training,
- utilise new technology,
- tarmac transfers,
- disability community,
- seamless arrivals,
- gate teams.
Employment of people with different disabilities by Omniserv
AM – started the conversation by giving an update on what they do today:
- Work with Whizkids, work placements
- Helen Cleaver – Customer Service Manager – Blind
- Andi Wright – Disability Advocate.
Omniserv were also considering linking up with an agency AS – we need staff with disabilities to go undercover
PV – commented that her cousin was autistic, he was into aircraft and aviation. It would be a great opportunity to bring people like him in to the business.
CL – good idea, change the service from the inside. Very creative.
CL – how do you approach the community? How do you advertise? You could approach charities like DPO – Disabled People Organisation. There are a lot of deaf people working in the lower paid sector – factory workers. Good customer service attitude. Just don’t focus on wheel chair users.
AM – we are currently working with the Heathrow Academy on staff recruitment.
MS – agreed that this sounded like a good initiative and there could be some good social/economic benefits.
MS – there are a couple of organisations working with the disabled community to support them into work opportunities.
- Even Break
GL – this is a win/win. Virgin have some people in head office which they have now moved into the operation. It also improves our customers understanding of disabilities.
PS – spoke about the London Living Wage for 2020 and how this fits into the new contract, as well as supporting Heathrow Sustainability plan.
MS – money matters, but empathy does not come from cash. It’s down to the type of people you hire.
CL – what is Omniserv’s recruiting process?
AM – gave a brief overview of the recruitment process:
- Recruiters / Indeed
- Weekly hosted event
- Team interviews
- Situation based interviews (frustration – how would you deal with this?)
AM – we also must consider key criteria such as security screening (5 years’ worth of records). Training is 2 days, this covers ‘Aircare’ (empathy, empowerment to recover in the moment, heart strategy, physical equipment training. STAR team are [picked for their empathy and attitude, this team is trained to conduct lifts, using the pro-move sling and eagle hoist. The Ambilift team is also a specialist team.
AM – staff turnover is low. Our USP is that we are a staffing solution company with strong local management. We have the 110% club where we host a yearly recognition ceremony. The top 10 from this event go on a trip to Atlanta.
CL – asked what was the actual turnover?
AM – the result of what we do is a turnover of 5 to 6 %. CL /AS – asked if agency staff were used?
AM – agency staff / recruitment agencies are used but as a support to find us permanent staff. We used to use agency for supporting shifts but have moved away from that model now. We like to have our own staff.
RC – Vote – if we feel Omniserv should explore the recruitment of persons with disabilities into their operational teams.
All voted yes.
GL – training is difficult, but there is a standard set in ECAC. Though standards vary throughout the
AM – we have 81 companies all with separate service standards. Omniserv incorporate Heathrow processes and hall marks into their core principals.
PS – Service signatures for Heathrow. We should look at how these impact the special assistance care proposition. We need to get the right service for all 76 million passengers.
PS – changing places, the last one opened in T3. Now all terminals have at least one facility. The support for the first facility to be opened at Heathrow, came from a family who campaign for these facilities throughout the UK.
Going forward this design should form part of the brilliant basic. This should be the standard.
It feels like this should be the same for training. Customers should see the same culture and intent across all parts of the airport (training).
GL – Gatwick training – Air travel Dementia, an external trainer is used. We should consider this as a starter.
MS – how much do disabled people feed into the training? Is it a generic awareness or do you look at case by case for each impairment?
AS – I only fly Virgin. The reason for this is that the customer service is good.
GL – Virgin Principal. The Virgin training is very much about see the person not the disability, focus on the person. Therefore, we recruit based on customer service being the first criteria, then additional training dependant on the role.
CL – Omniserv could improve their customer service focus. The problem is a lack of customer service. You need to look at the social model of disability, Look at TFL, their process is ongoing. Staff receive disability quality training. 3 to 4 years ago the training focused on a medical model. This is an old and very wrong mindset.
RC – CL & PV to review HAL / Omniserv training and report back in December.
Electric Mobility Aids (EMA) Process
PS -took the group through the HAL process. Heathrow’s has its own process that has been agreed with the Air Operators Committee. Omniserv will take the chair to the agreed airline collection point and the airline will isolate the battery, make the chair safe for air transport, then they load the EMA into the hold.
There is a process and procedure, which includes filing a report for a damaged / lost chair and if possible Omniserv would support by loaning out a foldaway chair. We understand that this is very different from the customer’s specific chair.
AS – support should be available all the way through the process. Is there a repair shop on airport? RC – AS to work with Omniserv /HAL to understand process.
RC – AS to work with Omniserv /HAL to understand process.
Catherine Howard – Feedback on Open Day
- 80 attendees
- 60 airside tours
- 11 interviews + telephone calls
- And a short video. (to be shared with group)
- 36 responses to the survey with 83 % feeding back as excellent or good. More confident about using LHR. Some have booked flights for next year.
- We need to ensure at the nest event that we get more airline representation.
CL – requested that we also get baggage handlers – they our handling our specialised luggage and tools.
Catherine Howard – Extra Care Community Panel
CH – Heathrow are looking into how we organise a consumer panel, where we can use an existing, established group, which we can add Heathrow users to who have expressed an interest in becoming more involved.
The group then discussed the consumer panel and different options that they are aware of in the in the market. Also, considering how we spread the message across the aviation market overall.
It was agreed that we need to get more customers / passengers to feedback.
RC – MS to follow up on this with Catherine Howard.
RC – started the discussion by stating that he had asked LHR to take a leap of faith with him. There is no such thing as a disabled person, but people confronted by a disabling environment. So why does the signage focus on disabled?
AB – at Heathrow we are looking to tidy the signage up and move over to something similar to the recognised blue, of the disability badge. There is also a plan to roll out a new logo (shown to group). Which is more inclusive of a wide range of disabilities, rather than just a wheelchair.
RC – we are looking to change the logo, so should we not look at the use of the term “Special” and drop this?
PS/AB – this has been discussed, but it feels as if it should be a transition rather than a big bang approach. Especially as Heathrow is a global hub so we need to share the message to allow us to change over the coming year.
GL – Virgin use the term Special Assistance – it helps keep focus on the PRM.
Overall a very mixed view from the group.
CL/AS – we like the symbols but not the “hand” it makes it look like a hospice. Get rid of the hand.
The group then went into discussion on toilet signage regarding the signage that displays a wheel chair and the person standing with the wording “not all disabilities are visible”.
This led to a further discussion about the amount of accessible toilets and the fact that some people are using these as a changing room, so preventing people who need to use them, using them.
It was felt that we should be looking at other facilities that all passengers could use, that leaves the accessible toilet available for people who need it.
RC – the UN Design (launched December 2015) represents accessibility for all people with disabling conditions not just mobility.
CL – like the new logo, but not just that sign at an international airport. It’s not currently a sign to look out for.
CL – “Accessibility Service”?
PS/AB – we are not looking to change name, currently.
MS/CL – why are we not using the more modern / active (dynamic) wheelchair sign.
New wheelchair sign found on internet and shared with group.
The group then discussed the various sign options.
PS – mentioned the IDAG visit and the comments from their team members that you can’t fix it 100% for everyone.
A brief discussion was then had on braille / embossed signage. PS – talked about the “sun-flower” for hidden disabilities.
RC – look at the hierarchy, position of the signs and logos.
RC – CDG (Paris) are championing inclusion.
A short discussion was then had on the removal of the disabled toilet sign as all toilets have an accessible toilet.
CL – also spoke about the wayfinding principal used in the US where the disabled toilet is a cubicle with the main toilet block.
In principal – all the group was in favour of the new colour.
The layout of the signage was discussed, with ideas and recommendations being taken to finalise the scope for the wayfinding trial.
The discussion was paused to allow members of Heathrow’s Service Transformation Team to join, apologies were offered from the Chief Operating Officer (COO), as the new COO Derek Provan was on annual leave. These are members of his direct team or their representatives due to calendar commitments.
Jonathan Coen – Director for Customer Relations and Service (CRS). Introduction in CRS
Care is a key focus for us.
Peter Waddingham – Delivery Director for Development (On behalf of Helen Gamlin Director for Development)
Overview of what the development team do and keen desire to work with the HAAG on future Heathrow developments.
Alex Beveridge – Head of Security for T3 (On behalf of Tom Willis Director for Security)
Keen to work with the team as we look to improve offering, delivering the security product, with a focus on service and how we differentiate to make it less stressful for people. Training of the teams is a key focus for us.
Andy Garner – Director for Baggage
Aim of baggage team – hold baggage is with passenger every time. Closely worked with Paralympics team – Baggage and specialised equipment is very important. Looking forward to engaging with the group.
There was a general discussion about what the Heathrow leadership team’s direction and approach, the final point came from Jonathan Coen – being easily accessible is at the heart of our agenda.
Heathrow senior team left the room. Discussion on signage continued.
Group proposed that we should use the “dynamic” wheelchair sign – all signage to be at the bottom of every light board.
PS – we will go ahead with the proof of concept in Terminal 3. Gather data and ensure we get it right before we look to roll out. The capturing of customer feedback will form part of the project scope.
A proposed process for transferring PRM’s between terminals was discussed. Which included the discussion around the Side Bull product, that is to be introduced as part of the new special assistance contract in 2018.
CL – had experience of the Side Bull and was very positive about this equipment.
The groups recommendation was to proceed with developing the process for further review. All members voted in favour of this.
RC- requested that the HAAG members please put together a short biography and photo.
GL – asked if HAL would put together a “crib sheet” for airline staff. Highlighting locations of Changing places, dog relief areas and other key facilities.
RC – closed the meeting.