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Horrendous BMI Baby treatment

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WestCoast

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It doesn't sound like a very dignified experience at all and does highlight an issue within the aviation sector of accessibilty. A lot of the current aircraft interiors were designed many years ago, Boeing 737s (such as those used by bmibaby) were designed (and in some case built) in the era of Pacers and high step entrance buses. There aren't many disabled facilities on a Pacer, likewise an aircraft interior. Looking 20 years ahead though, I think disabled loos and accessible seating will come. It isn't that long ago when a disabled passenger couldn't use any standard buses in the UK.

However, I took my grandma last year to Germany, who is also wheelchair bound and the experience was fine actually. The transfer chair process was undertaken before security in a quiet area on both legs of the journey. Mind you, I have to be honest with you, she's firmly older generation and thought it was wonderful that a "nice chatty guy" helped her about.

The terminal staff aren't employed by bmibaby, the vast majority are instead employed by a contractor (that sometimes even includes staff in an airline's uniform). There is also a contractor handling special assistance and I believe they set the policies for the transfer of disabled passengers to the aircraft. This isn't airline specific and the staff there are fundamentally unskilled workers.

Being made to sit at a window is not something I've heard of before, I'd have thought the aisle would have made more sense!
 
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Yew

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A few years ago I went to America with my uncle generally the experience was good, with the airlines putting him near an emergency exit to allow easy access to the seat, and having no real problems with security.

He did however take his small manual wheelchair instead of his large electric one that was in the hold.

I agree that the experience can be made better though, wit accessible toilets and maybe even wheelchair spaces on planes? The experience of the gentleman referanced by th OP is appalling though, I hope the airline industry takes fast steps to rectify this.

I fear the experience may BR worse fig travelling with ryanair though :/
 

WestCoast

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I fear the experience may BR worse fig travelling with ryanair though :/

We used Ryanair, out of necessity because no other airline flies Manchester to Bremen direct. The assistance staff in the terminal and the equipment used tend to be the same no matter what airline you fly. On the outbound we boarded about 5-10 minutes before everyone else via a 'lift' and taken to row 3, which was reserved. Upon arrival, the assistance staff collected us last and the procedure was much the same returning.
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with the airlines putting him near an emergency exit to allow easy access to the seat, and having no real problems with security:/

It would have to be near an emergency exit seat as opposed to at one (some aircraft have economy seats with extra space but they aren't exit seats), because regulations prohibit non-able bodied passengers and children under 16 to sit at those seats.
 
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chris89

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Thank you to those who have commented on this.

I will forward the thread onto my previous Tutor.

He did mention on facebook though this 'The power of social media, I tweeted Tanni Grey-Thompson about this whole sorry debarkle and she is going to raise it in the House of Lords as they are doing the Civil Aviation Bill at the moment!!!!!!!'

As Yew said it would be good if new aircraft (would be difficult to convert older planes especially those like the 737-300 etc) Had disabled places available and disabled access toliets.

Edit: Also he recently posted this on Twitter as well '@PhilTheGreek83
So far, @Birmingham_Airport investigating, appointment made with local MP and @Tanni_GT is raising in Lords, great start! Keep retweeting'

Chris
 

starrymarkb

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What doesn't help is that most UK airports don't have airbridges to the aircraft (ignoring Ryanair who refuse to use them where possible). In the US it's rare to board a full size airliner by steps - even for Props and RJs some airports have flat boarding via low level bridges.

It's unlikely that you'll see full disabled access on new aircraft for a while. Certainly the next generation (NEO and MAX) are still using fuselage designs dating back to the 1980s for the A32x and 1950s/60s for the B737. I'm not sure how easy it would be to get wider doors through certification... A wheelchair bay should be doable, but again the issue of positioning so it doesn't impinge on the exits. (You'll notice that there is rarely a larger gap in the seating then the size of the exit, as it was found that making too much space around the doors slowed down an evacuation as people bottlenecked at the door!)
 
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richw

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I flew with my gran on bmi baby. My gran is completely immobile, and bmi baby were very helpful, and fortunately the service we received isn't reflected in this story.

My grandad reports that of all the airlines he's taken my gran on easy jet have been by far the best service to my gran. They live in Greece, and return to the uk a couple times a year, have used every operator between their nearby airport and most airports in the south of England. They now use easy jet without fail to gatwick or Manchester.
 
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