Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Saturday is D day in more ways than one

July 23rd, 2008 · 2 Comments · Consumer blogging, Disability

The current Dublin Airport Authority logoImage via WikipediaI promised to update you on my consumer moaning regarding my treatment as a disabled passenger in Dublin Airport.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) were in touch within 24 hours of the complaint being lodged – by phone and a later email confirming the contents of the phone conversation. 10/10 for complaint handling processes.

The person in the customer services section acknowledged the complaint and apologised (10 out of 10 again!), and noted I was not alone in complaining. She informed me that DAA were collecting the info even though they are not solely responsible for handling the matters until July 26th because they were concerned and that Ryanair were contracting Fernley’s services.

Points to Note –

– SATURDAY 26th JULY is a big date for disabled airline passengers throughout the European Union. This is the date when the directive concerning the transport of disabled passengers takes effect. As I explained in a previous post, airports take responsibility rather than airlines for the whole shebang, this may mean streamlining of services so that there will be standard operating procedures in terms of the assistance offered.

According to the directive

Responsibilities of Airport Managers under the Regulation

The Regulation will require airport managers to provide a designated points of arrival and departure which have basic information about the airport available in accessible formats intended for people with mobility, sensory and cognitive impairments. Airport managers will also be required to put in place the necessary arrangements to enable disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility to:

* communicate their arrival at an airport and their request for assistance at the designated points;
* move from a designated point to the check-in counter;
* check-in and register baggage;
* proceed from the check-in counter to the aircraft, with completion of emigration, customs and security procedures;
* board the aircraft, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate;
* proceed from the aircraft door to their seats;
* store and retrieve baggage on the aircraft;
* proceed from their seats to the aircraft door;
* disembark from the aircraft, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate;
* proceed from the aircraft to the baggage hall and retrieve baggage, with completion of immigration and customs procedures;
* proceed from the baggage hall to a designated point;
* reach connecting flights when in transit, with assistance on the air and land sides and within and between terminals as needed; and
* move to the toilet facilities, if required.

As I know from other passengers there are a litany of issues that disabled peoples organisations have regarding the ‘handling’ of disabled passengers. You can read DAA’s paper from 2007 in response to the directive including the responses of disability organisations here.

So I think we’ll all be watching the changes that I was informed about – 3 new ambilifts, (!!!!) new equipment, training of new staff, and da da da dah ! (ahem!) there is a new contractor with experience in the UK and quality marks etc. I am looking for a copy of the DAA standards and the rights of disabled passengers from an Irish context (Including information on the contract regarding the services to be delivered) – if I don’t get the stuff in the next week I’ll FOI them. I d want to find out more about the use of air bridges for example and the matter of staff lifting people on and off the planes.

– I was informed that Fernley went for the contract to provide the service on behalf of DAA and didn’t win it – and the service seems to have run down until the date of the new contract coming into play. It’s not good enough and I wish there was protection for all disabled passengers to stop us having to suffer as a result of this commercial decision.

The customer service rep said that the incident raised in my complaint would be brought to the attention of Ryanair’s Passenger Services Management, and Fernley’s Service Manager. (I won’t sit around waiting for a response there…)

And I won’t be waiting for a disability organisation or committee review to test the new systems, contractors etc. (Although I hope they do – some mystery shopping would be good – and some disabled people delivering the training would be even better).

I’ll continue to blog about my experiences and also complain and comment to DAA – and I hope others do also – educating the service provider and contractor about the issues involved is the only way to go.

I do hope that all the new services will include the right for disabled passengers to shop and have a coffee in the airport whilst waiting for their flight and that the ‘piece of meat shuttle syndrome’ becomes a thing of the past.

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