10:00-16:00, Blue Sky Suite, Hyatt Hotel Bath Road – London
Roberto Castiglioni (RC) – HAAG Chair
Paul Stonehouse (PS) – HAL, HAAG
Panita Vig (PV) – HAAG
Christiane Link (CL) – HAAG
Athena Stevens (AS) – HAAG
Geraldine Lundy (GL) – VS, HAAG
John Fishwick (JFI) – BA, HAAG
Graham Race (GR) – HAAG
Edwina Silo (ES) – AOC, HAAG (afternoon session)
David Adams – European guide dog federation (morning session)
Judith Jones – European guide dog federation (morning session)
Carlo Alberto Cima (CC)- HAL
Ciara Thorn (CT) – HAL
Samantha Berry (SB) – Omniserv
James Fremantle (JF) – CAA
Joe Beattie (JB) – HAL
Simon Fraser (SF) – HAL
Tonia Fielding (TF) – HAL
Nicole Miersch (NM) – HAL
Martyn Sibley – HAAG
Edwina Silo (ES) – AOC, HAAG – morning session
Michael Carver (MC) – British Airways, HAAG
Antony Marke (AM) – Omniserv, HAAG
10.30 – 10.35 Chair welcome and updates.
The chair welcomed all attendees and introduced guests, David Adams and Judith Jones from the European guide dog federation and James Fremantle from the CAA. Apologies were covered. RC also informed the group that on the next HAAG we will be joined by representatives from Stockholm Arlanda and London Gatwick airports.
10.35 – 10.40 Samantha Berry introduction
Samantha introduced herself, sharing with the group her previous work experiences and her current role within Omniserv.
10.40 – 10.45 ADI Access – Assistive Technology – action update (Tonia Fielding)
TF has described the current updates and advised that the trial will start in Terminal 2 in March 2018. The trial will be ongoing and the equipment will remain in the room and will not be removed. TF continued by summarising what the ADI technology is: a voice system for visually impaired customers which give guidance of the room and facilities around them. ADI is activated by automatic sensors when a customer enters a room. Currently HAL is exploring ADI in different languages. DA asked how the system is activated and GL explained that the system comes on automatically when someone comes in the room and can be further activated by waving at the system. SB asks how is the feedback collected if Omniserv support would be helpful for the trials’ purpose. TF welcomed any support that Omniserv could provide, either collecting direct feedback from users or observations. JF invites HAL to speak to someone from the Alzheimer and Autistic society as this system activating automatically could present issues for certain passenger segmentations.
RC summarises next steps on ADI – HAL to partner with Omniserv for feedback collections and HAL to follow recommendations from JF.[ADI information – The RoomMate is an electronic, wall-mounted device, which offers Blind and Visually Impaired visitors bespoke audio description in a disabled access toilet. Each unit also comes complete with a high visibility door sign to indicate that the facility has an ADi RoomMate installed.
How it works
On entering the disabled access toilet an audio announcement is triggered and the unit advises that a recorded description of the room is available. If the user is visually impaired and requires the description, they are then given the instruction to wave their hand in front of the unit to activate. The unit is placed to the left or right of the door frame at mid-height and the initial announcement advises which side of the door the unit is placed and has the addition of 4 sonic pings after the announcement, to guide the user to it. There are 2 sets of identical phrases giving a sequenced description. The first set allows the visually impaired user to form a mental picture of the room, whilst the repeated set enables the user to navigate within the room.
This mains unit is delivered pre-programmed for each location and is thus ready for immediate installation. The volume is variable to allow for varying environmental noise factors. If features within the facility are altered at any time in the future new instructions can be entered on-site.]
10.45 – 11.00 Review of HAL compliance with Article 9, (EC) 1107/2006 (Chair)
RC explained that he asked the European Community to clarify the content of article 9. RC read through an email containing information received from the European Commission. JF shared the CAA view on this topic – it is important that the airport management involves disability groups when going into a tender process as their involvement is about setting quality standards and meet their needs.
GL agreed with JF but would suggest that thought is put on who is invited to tender process meetings, especially when finances are discussed, as different attendees might have different priorities. DA advises that a tender process should not be viewed from a point of cost but from a regulation and legislation perspective.
RC confirmed that this forum would be suitable to supersede the tender process, however concern was raised that the challenge is how to satisfy one disability group and at the same time financial/ commercial representatives. RC confirmed that the HAAG could be the right panel to handle these conversations and listen to all parties, in order to bring them to an agreement.
Recommendations: HAL to sit with disability groups during tender process of special assistance provider at the airport. Approved unanimously by all HAAG members in the room with voting rights.
11.00 – 11.25 HAAG roadmap 2018 – Action update and tasks distribution (All)
RC – HAAG members were asked to think about core topics to discuss during 2018. These are the following core activities that have been agreed: 1) Accessibility; 2) Innovation; 3) Education; 4) Continuous improvement; 5) Key events.
RC- would the CAA be able to collaborate to any of these projects? JF- I couldn’t confirm at this stage but we can offer support where possible. RC – Among the key events the first one will be the world wheelchair day in March 2018, what are the current updates from HAL? JB – We are finalising the logistics and talking with the provider to deliver the trial of brand new equipment coming from Japan in Terminal 5. SB – We are working closely with HAL and equipment provider to understand what the trial will look like and what is the equipment that may be used. More updates will be available by 15th February 2018 (cut-off date for confirming the event).
The group reviewed a video displaying the current trial in Tokyo Haneda airport:
RC – The trial we will be a great starting point for wheelchair usability and development at the airport.
JFI (BA) – This is a great opportunity to develop PRM facilities of our customers.
CL – One of my initial worries is how would passenger sit and stand from the chair?
RC – The current feedback collected at Haneda is excellent without showing issues. The wheelchair’s arms can move down. Two models are currently available and the second one was built listening to passengers’ feedback.
AS – Would this mean that passengers lose the option to choose where to go as it is automatic?
RC – You can drive the wheelchair with a joystick, with an app or choose the option of auto-driving. Passengers are empowered to choose how to move around the airport.
JB – We want to be cautious with the development of this project and listen to all parties before rolling it out airport wide. The trial will be a great starting point.
CL – I feel like this product looks at the needs of the airport more than the needs of the passengers. I think we might need to look first at what users need and then see what the airport can do to accommodate. In this project, it feels like we got the solution first and then we are asking passengers if this will work, compromising the future passengers’ satisfaction.
RC – The trial purpose is to understand users’ needs and give them an option. It is not intended to be the final solution.
PS – Following Roberto, I believe we are not offering a solution but we are offering an option. Currently there are no choices available to passengers wishing to self-mobilise and this could be an option that can then be rolled out only if users are satisfied with it and it is meeting all requirements.
JF – I agree with CL. The CAA would support a project development based first on understanding problems and needs and then researching what are the options. We should first use a consultative group like the HAAG then source options based on issues.
RC- We will need users’ feedback before giving a suggestion to HAL to roll out this option airport wide. We would never suggest to HAL to rollout something without having consulted with the final users first.
JFI (BA) – I think this is to be included within a suite of options available at the airport, as it will cater for some passengers but of course not for others.
GF – I think we are getting too far into the details of the product at this stage and I think we need to sit back and wait for trial and the feedback as part of a learning curve.
11.25 – 11.50 ATF roadmap 2018 – presentation and tasks distribution (Graham Race, Sam Berry)
GR presents the roadmap for the Accessible Travel Forum. ATF comprised of charities, organisations and individual disabled people. It is a facilitated platform for LHR to listen and engage, so that communities feel heard and where our services are brought to life. The purpose for HAL is to connect with the diverse population, listen, ask “what does great look like”? showcase current services. The ATF provides an opportunity to collect data and share innovations. The purpose for members is a structure for being listened to, to improve the journeys for members’ beneficiaries, a source of information to showcase information, provide aviation knowledge base and interact with those “who are doing the job”. How does ATF represent people? ATF recruits to target notable low stakeholders’ groups on an annual basis, it invites active participation from communities on the HAL doorstep, national representative organisations and international NGO’s where appropriate. How does ATF deliver? Bi-monthly meetings plus a diary of events – full list of events is given.
SB – I think it would be great to use the ATF also to support our internal stakeholders like airlines and Omniserv. There is an opportunity to partner with major charities, also to obtain media attention of what is happening at Heathrow.
JJ – I would like to see the support from international NGOs to get their opinion and experiences on board.
CL – It would be great to see ATF members sitting at the HAAG meetings so that they can report what is discussed here and what they discussed in their meetings.
GR – I am the current coordinator from the ATF – current members are 10 but there is no members limit.
DA – I would also like to see a push on project for developing dogs’ areas for visually impaired passengers.
11.50 – 12.05 New Wayfinding: HAL feedback and HAAG recommendation (All)
CT – Gives a presentation on wayfinding, giving background, current updates, scores, signage development and next steps.
CL – It’s great to see this new signage and how well it is working in Terminal 3.
JJ – When will the the word “special” and the wheelchair symbol be removed from the current signage?
RC – We are looking at 18 to 24 months, as we need to embed this with the support of the UN and EU.
RECCOMENDATIONS – To continue with the development of the signage and roll it out to the remaining terminals. Approved unanimously by all HAAG members in the room with voting rights.
12.05 – 12.20 Review of FAA AC No: 150/5360-14A, Appendix A (SARA) (All)
JJ – Presented the guidelines for Service Animal Relief Areas (SARA) and introduced the scope of the European guide dog association, the aspiration is to set standards for assistance dogs, including for air travel. The association works in collaboration with international organisations and links with european community. Currently there is no standard process for assistance dogs travelling through airports. We would like to work with Heathrow on the development of dog relief areas.
JF – Currently the CAA is auditing airports in the UK to understand how many dog relief areas are available in the UK and within two years we will have a full audit.
CL – There is a need to look at dog relief areas both airside and landside. Is there a process at HAL to use the tarmac airside?
SF – We currently have a process in place where the agent would escort the customer and the dog to tarmac.
CL – I was never being made aware of this option or heard of passengers that were offered it.
RC- I propose that HAL works to make sure that all agents and passengers are aware of this procedure. HAL and Omniserv should collaborate to make sure agents are aware.
JB – This is something we want to work on and it is currently on our project list for development.
JF – There is also the need to understand how many dogs are currently travelling and how many could be travelling, I think these statistics are needed to understand the priority for the development of these areas and where they are most needed.
RC- I propose as an action that this data is retrieved using the information available from airlines and HAL.
TF – Agreed.
RC proposes a vote from the HAAG members on dog relief areas.
JF – I think you shouldn’t vote at this stage as you need more substantial data and need to work with airlines to understand their support on this matter.
TF – I agree with James as HAL needs to understand the current data and priority.
DA – I think it would discriminatory not to have specific areas for dogs, regardless of statistics and priority.
CL – would like to review the current procedure – especially airside tarmac use.
RC – We agree that we will postpone this vote for the 24th April when the data will be available.
JB clarifies that we are going to call these areas assistance dog relief areas. RC agrees.
12.20 – 12.30 Revision of information on HAL’s maps – action update (Christiane Link)
CL has reviewed the current HAL map availability with a colour-blind person on the HAL website. They were impressed with the current map availability – especially the PDF maps. However, maps currently don’t clarify distances as there is no specific information on the website and it’s nearly impossible to get this information through the map alone. If you make an extensive research you can find “time” distances which is often not accurate. Also, distances in meters are available but they are very hard to find on the website and are not attached to the maps.
RC – The current guidance from the CAA is to list the key walking distance together with the map.
JF – That’s correct
RECCOMENDATIONS – Review current maps in compliance with CAA instructions which should contain key walking distances in meters. Approved unanimously by all HAAG members in the room with voting rights.
RC – NM to develop options to add to the existing maps.
12.30 – 13.00 HAAG feedback to CAA on CAP 1603 (All)
GF – Amount of training instructions included in the CAP 1603 is extensive and might present a challenge to different airlines. I would also suggest that all airline use the same training pack to create consistency.
RC- I think the HAAG could work together to develop a recommendation plan for the CAA to review.
JF – We would be happy to review any suggestions coming from the HAAG on this matter.
PS – We should also consider that we cannot have one standard guidance for all passengers as they all have differently needs.
JFI (BA) – We are currently working on processes to be in place specifically for PRM passengers on how to protect them during disruption. We are working with HAL and Omniserv to develop a consolidated process that could make a difference for our passengers.
SB – I think from a provider point of view, during disruption we must be fully up to speed with the processes, including hotel room availability, and liaise with all stakeholders involved. We are aware that we cannot book rooms directly but there must be better communications.
Break for lunch – PS announces that this would be his last HAAG meeting and he will not be a member of the HAAG going forward due to his new role. He praises the HAAG’s work, achievements and thanks all those involved.
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
Session restarted at 14:10
14.00 – 14.05 Action update on OmniConnect (Sam Berry)
SB provided an update on current service and changes from previous service. Opportunities to improve: consideration of a standards report that can be run in real time to flag tight transfers in the moment; tarmac transfers would be more efficient from T5C to all other terminals if there was a specific service, as currently there are no transfer buses; additional help buses could support multiple minimum connecting / high volume connections’ handling; the need to improve collaborations with UK border force to streamline communication process; specific flights should be targeted for minibus transfers due resource efficiencies.
SF – Reporting already exists and it is provided the day before and in the morning.
SB – I will check this with the with the team.
JFI (BA) – There are limitations with connections facilities and how we connect customers on tight transfers.
CL – From a passenger perspective why does a plane with a high percentage of PRM customers get a further away stand allocation, making the connection process more complicated?
JFI (BA) – There is always consideration on stand allocation and we try to make the best decision for passengers pending availability.
RC – I propose that CL and AS experience the connections journey and report back to the group on the next HAAG meeting with their findings. SF to take the lead on this and organise the tour.
CL – Do you have statistics on how many passengers have misconnected before the service changed and now?
SF – We have this information as it is reported on a regularly based to the CAA.
ES – Since the service has changed we have not received any negative information from the community or the users.
14.05 – 14.15 OmniServ service performance review (Sam Berry)
SB shows data from December 2017 (pre-contract changes).
CL – Tracking was at 75%, target 98% – what is the problem with that?
SF – There is a new system in place which started as per the 1st January, therefore we are expecting a marked improvement this month. Also tracking is now included in the contract and the provider will be financially penalised if reporting does not meet the targets.
SB – Disembarkation scores have not met targets but I am positive that with the new contract in the place the January data will be higher as there are more agents available and a continuous arrival process is now in place in every terminal.
RC – When do you think we will see more on target scores?
SF – I am positive that the January scores will show a marked improvement thanks to the new contract. The new contract was put in place thinking about the passenger experience. We are not looking at how quickly we can move a passenger but we care about the passenger experience. We are still ahead of what the CAA legislation asks us to achieve.
NM – We are currently creating a dashboard with the Integrated Planning team where all stats are included, both contract SLAs and passenger experience scores that can be shared at the next HAAG.
ES – Airlines look at passenger experience scores and it’s what they would like to know.
RC- We need to support Omniserv to deliver their service and use the information available as a solid base to develop new propositions
14.15 – 14.35 PRM Incident report (STN) (All) Record sealed
Agenda item moved to next haag meeting on 24th April 2018
14.35 – 14.55 Wheelchair Safe Transport – action update (AS, MC, GL, GR)
GL gave a general update on wheelchair damages. There has been a reduction on damage requests since we do safe loading of the chairs which has been a favourable improvement. CAA regulations impose safe wheelchair loading since 2012. Air Canada is putting a lot of work into best practice – could we invite them to hear what they are doing so we could potentially use their model? Chris Wood from flying disabled is working with the British health trade association to standardise wheelchairs in the cabin, could we ask them to reconsider wheelchairs for the hold? Could they produce guidance for customers?
Suggestions – HAL and HAAG could develop advice for passengers, batteries /DG/Insurance/Remove fragile parts/Deactivation etc.
Also, we could consider having an airport wide audit by HAL, develop an airport wide best practice, training and design award.
JFI (BA) – From the information we have collected, I can say that majority of damages to wheelchairs happens external to Heathrow, namely on the hold of aircrafts as bags hit the chairs. CL supported this.
JF (BA) – We could do an audit of the equipment available in certain areas of the airport that could help with this piece?
SF – I can bring this proposition to the relevant teams and check if they can provide an equipment audit.
RC- It’s a good idea to include Chris Wood and the British Health Trade Association to the working group and understand what we can do better.
JF- To have relevant information we need to keep a record and evidence of how many wheelchair accidents happen a year. Airlines should be able to provide this record. I would recommend that to create a strong business case you should collate accurate data.
AS – I believe that the data collected by the few airlines is not accurate as it might only contain the information from those who have received compensation. What about those who didn’t?
RC – We might consider that wheelchair manufacturers can provide information in the future. I believe we should include manufacturers in this conversation.
AS – I totally disagree with this. It’s the aircrafts that need to comply with the chair and not the chair that should be compliant to the plane. We cannot standardise chairs.
CL – This is what we were saying this morning. It’s not us that need to adapt but the airlines to adapt to our requirements.
14.55 – 15.15 HAAG discussion on dedicated security lanes (LGW feedback) (All)
agenda item moved to next haag meeting on 24th april 2018
15.15 – 15.20 HAL Consumer Panel update (Nicole Miersch)
Overview of mystery shopping proposal which is currently reviewed by 3 potential suppliers as part of the Heathrow consumer panel. Feedback is going to be consolidated from pre-booked and ad hoc assistance customers from departing and arriving flights. Two of the three organisation visited HAL for an operational tour and have submitted their proposals in January 2018. There are currently some outstanding questions that need to be answered as part of the tender process, however we are looking to roll out from February 2018. NM will give an update at the next HAAG meeting.
15.20 – 15.45 Training revision and alignment – action update (All)
PV gives a general update.
CT has discussed with security team and current training development is to be rolled out from March 2018. HAL has developed training pack and it will be shared with the CAA. Our focus is disability awareness training and hidden disability training (including all hidden disabilities). HAL want to rollout new training to all frontline colleagues.
TF – We currently have a generic disability awareness training that we deliver to frontline colleagues but we want to go the extra mile and enhance this current pack.
JF – We will need to review what it is currently provided.
SB – We currently have a three-day training pack for Omniserv agents (including class training and terminal training) and identified potential gaps – hidden disability module, cultural differences, airport specific infrastructures, access to meet disabled people and or carers to have a full understanding;
JF – how many Omniserv colleagues have been trained so far with this new training pack?
SB – Roughly 80. I would suggest that CL, AS and PV speaks to Karen Sutor (Omniserv training manager) and address any questions they have and provide suggestions.
RC – If we want to improve customer experience we must look past ticking boxes and we must have open conversations. I suggest that CL and AS draft a paper with setting the HAAG’s training guidelines to establish standardisation.
JB – We need to keep this as simple as possible, showing dignity and care.
15.45 – 15.55 HAAG position on collaborative approach with other airports (All)
agenda item moved to next HAAG meeting on 24th April 2018
15.55 – 16.00 AOB
JF – I am really pleased on how the work has been set up at the HAAG. It is important that airports don’t jump to conclusions until the issue/ problem has been found. You need to first discuss the passengers’ issue and then understand the potential solutions. To me, it seems like Heathrow is working hard to follow the CAA directions and wants to achieve success.