Finally, some good news regarding disability and travel! Among all the news horror stories about people with a disability being let down by the air travel industry, Virgin have given us something to smile about.
Virgin has found an elegant solution to the problems that can arise from flying with someone on the autism spectrum, suffers from anxiety, or has any number of other hidden disabilities along with people with physical disabilities such as requiring the use of a wheelchair.
They have mock ups of all the major airport and airplane interactions that can cause the most stress for someone who struggles with new experiences, crowds, and queues. They have a check in desk, a airplane interior, and a cockpit. These life-size and life-like training rigs can help take some of the anxiety out of encountering these environments for the first time during high stress moments.
This is not all however, Geraldine Lundy, who is the Passenger Accessibility Manager at Virgin Atlantic says, “The final touch we add is that if anyone has come for a visit we send out a summary email to everyone involved in their journey explaining what the customer needs,”
“We give the customer a copy of this which really gives them the confidence that they are going to be looked after. Our staff love it too as they know that someone who really needs some extra special care and attention is travelling.”
We can only applaud Virgin for the work they are doing to encourage more inclusive travel and hope that other airlines follow suit.