To mark World Autism Acceptance Week, British Airways has partnered with Learning Rose – an organisation that develops support material for people with autism – to make travel easier for customers with autism.
Through the partnership, British Airways has become the first airline in the UK to produce a Visual Guide to Flying. The Visual Guide is endorsed by the National Autistic Society and is designed to help customers prepare for their trip and make them feel as comfortable as possible during their journey. Each section of the guide, which can be downloaded from ba.com, describes a different part of the flying experience, using simple icons and text to describe the sights, sounds and smells passengers can expect. The Visual Guide is the first initiative as part of the airline’s partnership with Learning Rose.
“At British Airways we welcome more than half a million customers who require special assistance each year and we’re fully committed to making sure our service is accessible to all,” said Calum Laming, Chief Customer Officer, British Airways. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience for customers with visible and non-visible disabilities. Our partnership with Learning Rose is just one of the many initiatives we have in place to make flying as stress-free as possible and we’re looking forward to further strengthening and enhancing our partnership going forward.”
In addition to the Visual Guide, the partnership also includes colleague training and support, and bespoke colleague consultation sessions to ensure the airline’s staff have help on hand to always ensure best practice.
“I am really proud to partner with British Airways to create a newly updated and expanded Visual Guide and provide additional training and support for the airline’s colleagues,” said Rebecca Taylor, Founder, Learning Rose. “I know from both my experience working as cabin crew and from travelling with my son that flying can sometimes be overwhelming for people with autism, so I am delighted to be working with British Airways to help ease any travel anxieties that people with autism may face.”
Customers are able to liaise with the airline’s specialist accessibility team to ensure every journey taken is as straightforward and stress-free as possible. The dedicated customer care team can discuss and arrange appropriate assistance for each individual, whether this be assistance through the airport and onboard, pre-allocation of seats or updating a booking to ensure cabin and ground crew are aware of any support that customers may require.