Terminal 3, Aerodrome Meeting Room
Roberto welcomed the attendees:
Linda Ristagno (IATA)
Michael Carver (British Airways)
John Fishwick (British Airways)
Celine McGuigan (easyJet)
Mark Ramsden (easyJet)
Leonie McLeod (easyJet)
Diana Stevens (easyJet)
Lord David Blunkett (ESAAG)
Stefano Medaglia (ESAAG)
Mervyn Kholer (ESAAG)
Ann Bates (ESAAG)
Ann Frye (ESAAG)
Sophia Winters (ESAAG)
Jean-Marie Munier (ESAAG)
Laura Gelhaar (ESAAG)
Sharon Goodsell (DfT)
Ian Mitchell (OmniServ)
Sam Saunders (OmniServ)
John Holland-Kaye (HAL)
Chris Garton (HAL)
Jonathan Coen (HAL)
Tonia Fielding (HAL)
Ciara Thorn (HAL)
Rachel Denison (HAL)
Neena Haria (HAL)
Nicole Day (HAL)
Paul Ford (HAL)
Cathy Baxter (HAL)
Emma Jager (HAL)
Minutes – presentation HAAG/ESSAG joint session
Roberto Castiglioni, RC, welcomed everyone to the session and today customer service is what our focus is. Airports and stakeholders must be working together throughout the whole journey and he is proud to see the commitment of Heathrow working towards our goals.
Lord David Blunkett, LDB, thanked Roberto for his efforts for the HAAG. Encourages everyone to join in during today’s meeting as everyone’s input is valued. Introduced Sharon from the Dtf (Department for Transport)
Sharon Goodsell, SG, started by mentioning the Government’s green paper and how it is a long-term strategy to 2050. The aim is to be a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector. Going on to explain how it has been split into various chapters, referring to slides.
Slide 5 mentioning the story so far and how published a call for evidence in July 2017, ‘next steps’ document April 2018. Passenger experience, accessibility. Developed the passenger charter, developing guidance that already exists. She went on to explain the ‘how?’ within our passenger charter adopt ECAC doc no. 30 in Section 5. Reviewing CAA guidelines. Update Dft access to air travel code of practice, big job for Dft. To conclusion she encouraged for people to be involved and you can get in touch with her directly. She reiterated this is how we can get in a position we want to be in and get more disabled people flying.
JHK – thanked SG on her agendas and how the HAAG was valuable to show the complexity. Linked to Heathrow’s signatures. Once we identify the issues, we can think of the solutions. Good to know what isn’t working.
Next to present was Linda Ristagno from IATA. The request came from the bodies of government, as there are 1 billion people with different types of disabilities in 2011. Stated we want to see what was happening internationally so firstly started to see who required this service, it is a growing number so vastly important. This was the starting point.
From talking to passengers with disabilities was the start to find out the challenges. Realised regulations, 1 specific to transport 2 comes from the convention to people with disabilities, the UN convention on the right of persons with disabilities, removal of barriers.
Action from IATA is to push this through to our government, draft some core principles, specific topic on what we can do and what we need. Different principles would be presented and hopefully approved at the AGM. Most important form for IATA. Draft principles, first safety, airline industry, safety is the highest importance. Limitation what can and cannot be done. Safety is the best form of passenger protection.
Refers to core principles on slide, page 18.
JC – 2017 was a reset for Heathrow as a result from the CAA.
Our vision is to have a welcome and accessible airport. To be accessible Heathrow. It is our responsibility as the international hub.
HAAG and ATF are an important part of helping Heathrow move forward so we can see where we need to make changes. Our improvements so passengers can be as independent as possible with few stop points.
He spoke about how much this is a priority to Heathrow as £2m has been invested in new technology, looking at wayfinding, equipment for lifting and moving passengers around the airport. Training and awareness with our front-line colleagues as we have a training course called Dignity and Care. As well as an 18-month relationship with the HAAG. Assistance with how we can change. JC mentions the importance of call points and first touch points, looking at the first touch points making them accessible. Quiet rooms, quiet zones as well as priority lanes which can be stressful.
Celine McGuigan, CM, presented for Easyjet.
CM started with mentioning the increase in passengers flying including passengers needed assistance. Staff are still getting to grips what customers really want and this is an importance to the team. Every airport has processes the passengers have to go through, so it is about working together for the best practice.
The difficulties they have come across are damages to a wheelchair, they are putting a waiver in place to make this easier to monitor. As well as allergies, this hard to manage as you can’t control what other passengers are brining on a plane. Lately Easyjet are taking accessibility seriously, looking at forums to the people that are employed. The Charter links into what Easyjet wanted to do anyone so are using it in a positive way. Using the pre-notified passenger information in the right way. Value by efficiency vs the customer experience so they are getting the best journey as well as their best value for money.
Next to present was Michael Carver from British Airways. The first thing he asked his team to focus on was the accessibility rather than disability. He played the new BA accessibility video. Once finished RC opens to the Q&A session.
Ann Frye, AF, spoke about the pre-notified passengers and how everyday people are traveling for the first time, so they don’t know what they don’t know. Passengers may not know they need help until they get to the airport, so the airport and airline need to be flexible and accommodating in helping them plan their journey. It may be as simple as not knowing how big the airport is. Raising awareness. AF goes on to mention the training that JC spoke about and said how this should be happen before staff start working in a terminal.
Mervyn Kholer said that passengers simply don’t know what to ask for. Staff need to tell passengers what is available and sell their services because what Heathrow can provide is good.
Anne Thorp states the biggest issues for her are the staff training and awareness.
Chris Wood said that it is the airline’s responsibility ‘passed the cabin door’ service and that is where the service seems to fall.
Clive Locke said before his biggest issue was with easyJet, however, they are now changing the service they give to accessibility and is a focus and priority which is great.
Tonia Fielding messaged we need to be consistent, clarity to know what we need to be doing.
Starting the conclude today’s session, RC thanked everyone for coming. LDB thanked RC for driving the change at Heathrow and reiterated the message from the BA accessibility video to ‘Ask, listen, learn’ Access and support in any measure people may need it. Knowing the challenge and knowing how they like to respond. Everyone collaborating, through the airport including at the gate. Security can be hard and it’s about attitudes. Once we get it right for assistance needs, it will also change the response to all passengers which is a win-win.