- Friday, 13 July 2012
Mature Times asked Tourism for All UK - a charity that provides holiday and travel information for disabled and older people, to take a look at the facilities and services provided at Gatwick Airport that might be helpful for their readers.
So with passport grasped firmly in hand we went to see what has been achieved at Gatwick in recent times.
Well, for many months there has been building work taking place at the airport, but bit by bit the airport is being reshaped for the future to being one that takes into account the requirements of all passengers whatever their needs.
We met with the Passenger Communications Manager and also the Manager of the passenger assistance (PRM) services provided by OCS at Gatwick. Following the formalities of having to obtain a security pass we went on a walk about to see what was going on in the South Terminal.
If you have access to the internet, you can explore what Gatwick now offers for passengers needing assistance by visiting the following link: www.gatwickairport.com/prm/.
There is a passenger drop-off point outside the terminal building for disabled people, or for those who require assistance. There are help points to summon assistance.
All directional signage has been reviewed and made easier to read - and follow in a clear yellow font on a black background.
There are accessible WCs on arrival and also in the terminal buildings. These have been reviewed and upgraded recently and the new toilet facilities are simply stunning – and have to be seen to be believed.
We were told that some people like them so much that they don’t want to leave, or they take pictures and share them on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook!
The following facts speak for themselves in terms of the investment being made. Gatwick Airport has splashed out an impressive £2 million over the past two years in new and improved services and equipment.
This includes six new PRM wheelchair accessible minibuses (to take you to the plane); 100 new wheelchairs; 36 new buggies for ambulant people; 10 aisle chairs for aircraft and five Ambi lifts (that take you from the tarmac to the aircraft entrance).
If you have access to the internet,
;feature=player_embedded" target="_blank">please take a look at this film which will give you some idea of what has been achieved and the help that is now available.
They also plan to include subtitles on the film for those who cannot hear the narrative.
Audio visual information systems have been enhanced to help the deaf, hard of hearing and vision impaired passengers, and clearer signage and passenger information have been also designed for passengers with learning disabilities.
Gatwick provides assistance to approximately 30,000 passengers a month, rising to about 47,000 at peak periods. In 2011 they supported 381,000 passengers with reduced mobility which represented 1.5% of total annual passengers. This number was an increase of 13.9% on the previous year.
If you might need assistance when travelling here’s some sound advice from the Gatwick Airport themselves:
please contact your airline directly or via your travel agent to pre-book
as wheelchair or scooter.
the help you have requested is ready and waiting on arrival or at the
+44 (0)844 892 0322 and select option 2.
I hope that this gives you a taste for what is a real step forwards in meeting the needs of many and for perhaps taking a trip via Gatwick Airport. Happy travelling!
Tourism for All UK