Gatwick Airport’s holds biggest ever Accessibility Day

  • For the first time tours go ‘airside’ so families can experience the interior of an aircraft, provided by EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic’s private V-Lounge
  • Families also tour Gatwick’s UK-first sensory room which is designed to calm passengers who may feel overwhelmed in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings. 
  • 2000 staff from across the airport also become Dementia Friends this week

GATWICK, UK, 2018-Nov-21 — /Travel PR News/ — Travelling through an airport can be challenging if you have a disability and 40 families and carers attended Gatwick’s biggest ever Accessibility Day this weekend (17 November) to get a taste of airport processes before they fly.

Thanks to easyJet, an aircraft was made available for the first time during an Accessibility Day so that families, their children and carers could experience boarding and sitting in the interior of an aeroplane.

Virgin Atlantic also provided their private V-Lounge for the families to relax and enjoy refreshments.  While ‘airside’ the tours also visited Gatwick’s new sensory room which offers a relaxing, private and fully interactive environment to calm passengers who may feel overwhelmed in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings.

Representatives from across the airport helped to run the event in the airport’s North terminal including staff from airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and TUI, Gatwick’s security, terminal and special assistance teams, the police, the fire service, surface transport team and Border Force officials.

Families taking part could also replicate ‘checking in’, ride on assistance buggies, meet trained security dogs and the police, and watch the x-ray machines in action.

The Accessibility Day comes in the week that the 2000th member of staff working on the airport campus became a Dementia Friend – the Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Anyone who requires assistance when travelling through Gatwick is encouraged to contact the airport’s special assistance team or their airline.

Sara Marchant, from Gatwick Airport coordinated the event and said:

“The feedback we get from families is fantastic and shows that the Accessibility Day really helps make their journey more enjoyable and relaxing when they come to travel through the airport for real.

“So many people from organisations across the airport come together to make this event happen and I would like to thank everyone for helping to make it such a success. I was also delighted to welcome visitors from other UK airports to the event as it is important we all learn from each other to help make our passengers’ journeys are as enjoyable as possible.”

Celine McGuigan, Accessibility and Assistance Manager, easyJet, said:

“At easyJet we want to provide an enjoyable and seamless travel experience for all our customers, including those with accessibility needs. This is why we set up ESAAG, our Special Assistance Advisory Group, in 2012, so it could provide guidance and advice to us on the services provided to passengers who require assistance. The group is chaired by Lord David Blunkett and is made up of experts in disability issues and accessible travel.  We are pleased to be part of the Accessibility Day to give people the opportunity to find out more about what support they can get from Gatwick Airport and easyJet when travelling.”

About Gatwick Airport

Gatwick’s 2018 draft master plan sets out proposals for the airport’s ongoing development and sustainable growth. It also outlines the airport’s latest thinking on how it can meet the increasing demand for air travel and provide Britain with enhanced global connectivity. A public consultation will run on the draft master plan until 10 January 2019 and will help inform the publication of the final master plan next year.

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver and generates around 85,000 jobs nationally, with 24,000 of these located on the airport. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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