Yet, the air travel situation does not need to be as problematic as shown in this research. Good quality customer service training with a dedicated team approach by airlines at individual airports is one strategy that can be adopted. This type of approach values travellers with disability by treating them in an equitable, dignified and independent way. I was the recipient of such a service experience at the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino International Airport, Rome. As one should expect from a country with a history of valuing customer service and a Formula One racing car pedigree, this service for wheelchair users was first rate and like a well oiled pitstop crew. It was an incredibly empowering experience where the travel trip chain was continuous and with out critical incident. Photo 1 shows the customer service team escorting me to the boarding gate on an accessible light rail system.
|Photo 1: The author Simon Darcy with the excellent customer service staff at Rome airport on a wheelchair accessible light rail system moving to the boarding gate (Photo with permission © 2012 Fiona Darcy)|