Accessible toilets on flights - your views


#1

Hi all,

The Campaigns team at Parkinson’s UK has been approached by a person with Parkinson’s about the lack of accessible toilets on airplanes. We are considering if/how we can take this forward as an issue, and would be really interested to hear from people on the forum about your experiences of accessible / inaccessible toilets on airplanes and how much of an issue this causes for people.

Feel free to post here if you are comfortable discussing this publicly; otherwise you can message me directly or contact us on campaigns@parkinsons.org.uk.

Many thanks,
Emma


#2

Hi

Trying to get larger/accessible toilets on planes via a campaign would be a complete waste of time in my opinion. If you suffer badly enough from PD symptoms to the sort of degree that requires a re-design of aircraft toilet facilities, it might be time to re-think different modes of transport and different locations for your vacations.

If on the other hand, you can adapt and plan your journey more efficiently and use the resources offered by the Airlines and Airports to better use, it might be a better option to champion a cause to enhance the existing 'special assistance' facilities. 

I've used the special assistance at my local Airports for at least the last 5 years and each year their service has improved. I mainly use E***jet and I book seats as early as possible. Apart from getting a good value price, I also get refunded the additional money I paid for seats up front near the toilets. Disabled people cant have seats in row 1 (not always the best seats to have anyway because the bulkhead interferes with legroom) or seats near to other exits but its all ok from row 2 backwards.

Its fairly easy going through Airport security and Customs too. A dedicated helper will push you in a wheelchair through all the obstacles and queues that usually make our holidays a living nightmare and right up to the Aircraft door. I have diabetes as well as PD and my insulin needs to be kept chilled. That's all sorted for me (provided you inform them with plenty of notice).

As in all processes things occasionally go awry. No-one or no company can guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong but if certain things can be improved or bettered and pointed out to them in a fair and practical manner, I'm sure the Airport authorities and Airlines would try to oblige. 

At the end of the day, low cost airlines are dependent on profit margins, and disabled people are valuable customers. Its in their interest to improve this service but they can only do that with input coming back to them from us. 

I think this sort of campaign is a much more realistic proposition.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! 

Pokermid cool

Btw....we say Aeroplanes in the UK, not Airplanes


#3

Hi Pokermid,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. We've been discussing the issues and are now planning to do a wider piece of evidence gathering next year on people's experiences of transport more generally. Hopefully that will help us to identify the areas where we can usefully campaign for improvements.

Thanks again and do let us know if you have other thoughts.

Emma


#4
Hi Emma, Although I think it an admirable idea to campaign for more accessible toilets on aircraft, I doubt it will happen. I don't want to be negative but I have just recently retired from my job in the airlines after 25 yrs. I know that on certain aircraft they are planning to remove one of the toilets to make room for more seats. It's mandatory to have toilets to enable disabled access but there is usually only one per cabin. Although making huge profits, the airlines only want to make cuts. Having been recently diagnosed with PD myself any campaign to highlight Parkinsons is wonderful. I'll watch this space. DivineR

#5

Hi DivineR,

Thanks for your response - it's helpful to have that industry insight. As I mentioned above we'll be doing some evidence gathering for a possible transport campaign next year so we'll keep you posted on that.

If you're interested in following (and taking part in!) our campaigns more generally, you can sign up to be a part of our Campaigns Network here: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/campaigns-network

Thanks again,
Emma