The changes mean the Civil Aviation Authority has legal authority to ensure airlines and airports comply with European rules which entitle disabled travellers to special assistance when travelling.
Consultation with 50 airlines and all UK airports has been taking place since August to improve the quality of ‘special assistance’ information on their websites.
Information should be more comprehensive, clearer to understand and displayed just one click away from the website homepage.
Websites should also include a helpline number to enable passengers to pre-arrange special assistance and have information on how to complain.
The CAA warned that any business which fails to comply could face prosecution.
The new regulations were unveiled today (Wednesday) to coincide with the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
CAA regulatory policy director Iain Osborne said: “In using these new powers we aim to ensure the passenger experience for disabled people and people with reduced mobility is further improved and enhanced.
“Good and easily accessible information relating to special assistance is essential for passengers with reduced mobility.
“When we reviewed airlines’ and airports’ websites, we found this was not always easy to find and often unclear and lacking in detail. So we have worked with the industry to make sure it is presented in a much clearer fashion and just one click from the homepage.
“It is pleasing to note that most airlines and airports have now made these improvements. Where this is not the case, the CAA will work with the airlines and airports involved to bring them into full compliance.
“This increased level of clarity will enable passengers to better plan their trip, or allow them to choose between different airlines or airports depending on the level of assistance available.”
He added: “The UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities recognises there is a continuing need to break down barriers, provide open access to all and create a fully inclusive society.
“As the UK’s national aviation regulator we ensure the rights of air passengers who have a disability or reduced mobility are adhered to.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly