Cardiff Airport has opened its doors to a number of local charities and voluntary organisations in order to enhance the customer experience for passengers with reduced mobility.
Representatives from the NHS Multiple Sclerosis Team, JDRF (Junior Diabetes Research Fund), Autism Puzzles, Dementia Friends, Diverse Cymru, Cardiff People First, Age Cymru and the Alzheimer’s Society spent the day with Steve Mogford, Site Services Officer and coordinator of the day, along with members of the Passenger Assistance Team. The day included a full tour of the customer journey from start to finish followed by an interactive feedback session.
The aim of the Familiarisation Day was to offer stakeholders with expert knowledge an insight into how customers with hidden disabilities and conditions experience the airport – from parking a car right through to the security process, the departure lounge offering and boarding an aircraft.
Following a tour, the group were joined by Cardiff Airport Customer Services and Terminal Manager, Nathalie Wickens, and Managing Director and COO Debra Barber who welcomed the group and emphasised the team’s commitment to making the customer experience accessible and enjoyable for all. Visitors from the charity then offered feedback on their experience and made constructive suggestions that would benefit customers in the future.
Debra Barber, Cardiff Airport, added: “This is the first time we have organised an event such as this, and we found it incredibly valuable and informative to have the input of those who have direct experience and knowledge of what it’s like to live with a condition or disability.
“We want the national airport of Wales to be an accessible and enjoyable experience for all of our customers; as such we are committed to learning from the day and making further improvements to our service. We look forward to continuing our relationships with these organisations and working with others going forward by organising more activities such as this.”
Miranda Burdett, JDRF's Regional Fundraiser for Wales, said: “More than 18,000 people in Wales have Type 1 Diabetes, which is not linked to lifestyle and is a lifelong condition - until we find the cure. People living with type 1 diabetes must manage it through insulin injections or insulin pumps and multiple daily blood tests. It's known as an invisible condition because the challenges and complexity of this daily regime is not often recognised.
“The Cardiff Airport Familiarisation Day provided an opportunity for me to offer feedback on the experience of using the airport as someone living with Type 1 Diabetes, with Airport staff giving useful information on the special assistance services offered.
“The day was very beneficial and allowed me the opportunity to advise staff of considerations such as taking insulin pumps through airport security scanners and carb counting on airport menus.”