Considering the views of disabled people during COVID-19 and their key concerns with flying, easyTravelseat undertook an aviation survey to hear what people had to say.
Six months on from the initial survey, the global landscape has changed, and so has the need to understand how people’s perceptions have altered.
Answering questions from the previous survey, easyTravelseat has made comparisons to highlight the changes towards flying with a disability during COVID-19 and flying in a COVID-19 world.
Additional questions covered likely engagement of the disabled community with industry in advisory groups and consultations, as well as views on those who have travelled with a disability during COVID-19.
Questions included: Would you consider flying before a COVID-19 vaccine is available? May saw 32 per cent say yes, and in October only 26 per cent considered flying before a vaccine.
Research reported by the Independent, four in 20 people have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Figures show that 75 per cent said they had faced financial constraints of COVID-19 made an impact on their decision to not book future travel by air.
The envisioned time people are considering travelling by air again has changed. In May, 25 per cent said they would wait six months and this has increased to 32 per cent.
Whereas, in 20 per cent said they would wait a month or so to fly in May, which has significantly decreased to nine per cent in October.
To provide greater insight as to why many disabled passengers are still opting not to fly and what gives them most cause for concern.
Here is a list in order of most cause for concern by the respondents:
- Sitting/being in close proximity to others, particularly onboard aircraft
- Air conditioning / recycled air inside the cabin
- Being assisted by special assistance – particularly for wheelchair users
- Wearing face masks for long periods
- Catching the virus abroad or quarantined
- Not understanding people with face masks on
However, statistics show that the aviation industry is positively handling COVID-19 safety requirements.
The statistics suggest the industry is successfully managing COVID-19 safety requirements in line with passenger expectations; and should be a re-assuring message to the disabled community and further a field that aviation is a safe environment to travel.
COVID-19 has advanced the aviation field for disabled passengers, but more can always be done and this is why calls are being made for more disabled people to support during industry consultations.
After all, no matter when air travel returns, it should be accessible for everyone.