British Airways has hosted the first meeting of its new Customer Access Advisory Panel, which will engage with members of the community to improve the end-to-end experience for its customers with accessibility needs. The airline is committed to providing a seamless experience for all passengers and ensuring that its accessibility offerings satisfy the different demands of its customers.

The independent panel, comprised of individuals with both visible and non-visible disabilities, met in person for the first time and will meet every few months to provide invaluable feedback and discuss and review new initiatives, ensuring that British Airways’ products and services are designed and built with accessibility and inclusion at the forefront. From IT solutions to airport and aboard experiences, the panel will help shape airline improvements and deliver practical recommendations on best practices for inclusivity that are evidence-based and supported by personal experiences.

The panel is chaired by Mary Doyle, who is committed to offering practical advice to groups about inclusion. Mary is a wheelchair user and accessible aviation consultant with a 25-year service delivery management background that has taken her all over the world.

Other panellists include:

Simon Houghton is a behavior change specialist who was born deaf. Simon started ‘WeSupportDeafAwareness’ during COVID and is the founder of UnseenAware, a campaign to create an inclusive experience for consumers and employees with disabilities that people don’t notice.
Paul Hayman is an international Chief Financial Officer with over 30 years of expertise. Paul is a frequent traveler, and as someone with autism who finds air travel difficult, he is eager to aid members of the neuro-diverse community by educating others.
Dom Hyams is Global Client Director at Purple Goat, the world’s first and only socially inclusive marketing agency. Dom is the founding editor of the Disability Power100, which presents some of the most prominent disabled changemakers in society.
Neil Barnfather MBE, a well-known entrepreneur and accessibility campaigner. Neil, a blind entrepreneur, understands the problems that disabled travelers encounter. He combines his lived experience with a remarkable background in technology, innovation, and business transformation across sectors such as telecoms, fintech, and aviation.
Jennie Berry is a content producer and wheelchair user who uses her daily experiences to educate people about living with disabilities. Jennie is the Head of Community at Sociability, which is an app that helps people with disabilities find accessible venues.
Xavier Mascarell, Customer Accessibility Strategy Manager at British Airways and founder of the Customer Access Advisory Panel, stated, “British Airways transports hundreds of thousands of customers who require additional support each year. We work hard to remove barriers and support customers with accessibility needs throughout their trip, but we realize there is still work to be done. The views and comments we receive from our advisory panel members will be critical in developing our accessibility offerings. We want to guarantee that everyone has a great flying experience, and we hope that the insights gained from these sessions will drive further change.

Mary Doyle, Chair of the Panel, stated, “I’m over the moon to support British Airways as Chair of its new Customer Access Advisory Panel as this demonstrates a visible commitment from the airline’s leadership to make flying more comfortable and dignified for everyone. Tailoring the customer experience is key to our success, as disability is not one size fits all. We have a great team of professionals with lived experience on the panel who are curious, innovative and put the customer at the centre of all decisions. This team is committed to helping British Airways learn directly from the disability community and we’ll have some fun along the way.”

This new panel is just one of the numerous ways the airline is improving its accessibility options. British Airways has invested in a variety of services to help passengers with accessibility needs. It has a dedicated Accessibility team that provides specialised support to anyone who requires it. The airline provides mobility help to clients who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or have impaired vision, as well as other non-visible disabilities.

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