Heathrow press releases

26 September, 2017

Heathrow Special Assistance in the Spotlight

Heathrow Open Day (Sept 2017)

 

  • Airport hosts first ever Open Day for those with disabilities and mobility restrictions
  • 36 exhibitors took part, including charities and airlines, and passengers were able to experience what an airport journey would be like
  • More than one million passengers at Heathrow request special assistance

Heathrow welcomed over 80 passengers this weekend in its first annual special assistance Open Day. The event was jointly hosted with Omniserv, Heathrow’s special assistant provider, along with disability charities like TryB4uFly, Whizz-kidz, and Spinal Injuries Association, and airlines including Virgin Atlantic. Its aim was to help passengers understand how our Special Assistance service works so passengers with disabilities or mobility restrictions have the confidence and information they need before they travel.  

In total, over nine companies exhibited at the Open Day.  Passengers were also given the opportunity to go on behind-the-scenes tours of the airport, and to walk them through the actual journeys they would take from check-in to gate.

Over one million passengers at Heathrow request special assistance from the airport each year. Following a critical report by the Civil Aviation Authority this year, Heathrow is transforming its service for these passengers and will soon publish a new action plan outlining practical steps to ensure its special assistance is considered amongst the best in the UK.

Heathrow is already working with Government and its charity partners to roll out special training to front-line colleagues to identify and provide better service to passengers with hidden disabilities or dementia.  Heathrow is also investing millions of pounds in modernising airport infrastructure to make it more accessible and working on new ways to provide an even more personalised service from drop-off to departure gate.

Jonathan Coen, Director of Customer Relations and Service at Heathrow said:

“We are determined to provide an excellent level of service to every passenger and work with our partners to ensure all our passengers’ journeys are as smooth, and as enjoyable as possible. Our first annual Open Day this weekend is only the first of many steps we are taking this year to be more transparent, and responsive to the needs of our passengers with disabilities or mobility difficulties. There is more to come yet, as we transform our service to meet the high standards of all our passengers, regardless of their requirements.”

--Ends--

 

Editor’s notes:

About Heathrow

Heathrow is Europe’s largest airport and one of the world’s top international aviation hubs. As the UK’s global gateway, Heathrow welcomes more than 76 million passengers every year with a commitment to making ‘every journey better’. The airport is home to more than 80 airlines and is Britain’s largest cargo port, helping to drive British trade growth by connecting the nation to more than 190 destinations around the world. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the last 10 years, Heathrow is currently ranked by passengers as the 'Best Airport in Western Europe’ for the third year running and the ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ for eight years in a row.

About Special Assistance

Passengers that have disabilities or mobility difficulties requiring special assistance should contact their airlines or Heathrow Special Assistance at special_assistance@heathrow.com

Exhibitors at Heathrow’s Open Day included:

  • Virgin Atlantic
  • UK Border Agency
  • Fish Insurance
  • TryB4UFly
  • Omniserv
  • Spinal Injuries Association
  • Whizz-kidz
  • Heathrow Security
  • Heathrow Customer Relations and Service
  • Heathrow Autism Champions