Global campaign doubles support for airline passengers with disabilities

Requests for assistance for airline passengers with intellectual disabilities have nearly doubled since the launch of a global campaign by travel technology company Travelport.

The campaign was designed to raise awareness of a dedicated Special Service Request (SSR) booking code, which are used in the airline industry to communicate traveller preferences or needs to airlines.

Travelport launched its 'Travel unified' campaign in March, after it found evidence of exceptionally low use of the code on bookings made through its global distribution system.

The SSR code is used to alert airlines when a traveller has an intellectual or developmental disability and needs assistance.

Use of the code on flights booked through Travelport increased 89 percent since the campaign launch, with use up 94 percent in Europe.

The campaign was created by the company's in-house team, which brought the campaign to customer and trade events, and used engagement on social media and via vloggers to encourage passengers to document their experience.

Travelport is relaunching its campaign today, the International Day of People with Disabilities, to encourage all parts of the travel industry to do more to support people with intellectual disabilities.

Fiona Shanley, the company's chief customer and marketing officer, said: "We’d like to call on all airlines, airports, hotels and other members of the travel family to do more to ensure everyone has the travel experience they deserve, including the 200 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities."

International Air Transport Association external affairs manager Linda Ristagno added: "Air travel is an integral means of transport in today's world, and all those with disabilities – visible or not – should have access to safe, reliable and dignified travel.

"Our airline members committed to improve the air travel experience for the estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide."

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