Jet2, Ryanair and Tui have scored the worst out of the 11 largest airlines operating in the UK for their website accessibility.
British Airways was ranked the top carrier in the Airline Digital Accessibility Report, commissioned by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and undertaken by Hassell Inclusion, a digital inclusion and accessibility agency.
The carriers’ websites were ranked according to their technical accessibility as well as their ease of use for making bookings.
Websites were given a score for their compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, then a focus group of consumers with accessibility needs provided insights.
BA scored highest for its technical accessibility and scored 7/10 on its Digital Consumer Journey score.
At the other end of the scale, Jet2, Ryanair and Tui received technical accessibility ratings of 1/10, and Digital Consumer Journey scores of just 2/10.
The CAA said the report highlighted how there is “overall room for improvement across the board, with a lack of consistent, ongoing consumer research from airlines”.
However, it also found that website accessibility was increasingly being prioritised by airlines.
A Jet2 spokesperson said: “In line with our industry-leading approach to customer service, we constantly assess, test and design our websites to improve them for every single customer, and accessibility standards are a critical part of that.
“All feedback is very important to us, and we are grateful for the feedback that this audit has provided.”
Although the audit recognises the positive elements towards accessibility on our website, we recognise that there is still work to do and we have a plan in place to address the issues that have been identified. In the meantime, we make it very clear in our accessibility statement that any customer can contact us free of charge via our UK based contact centre or via WhatsApp.
The report was published as part of the regulator’s research for its proposed Airline Accessibility Framework, which would rank airlines based on the entire customer journey for people with accessibility needs, from booking through to boarding, on-board support, and post-journey aftercare.
Anna Bowles, head of consumer at the CAA, said: “Our skies should be accessible to everyone, and that journey often starts with a visit to an airline’s website.
“Today’s report highlights that there is still a way to go for the industry to provide a smooth digital experience for passengers, both on the technical front, but also in terms of ease-of-use.
“Airlines do consider accessibility on their digital platforms, but the report provides technical guidance and first-hand insight on how they can further prioritise this work and embrace digital inclusivity, so that nobody is left digitally excluded.”
Aviation minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton added: “For many, that holiday feeling starts when planning and booking their flights so it’s only right that passengers can navigate websites with confidence and ease.
“Today is another reminder that passengers deserve accessible flying, and industry must work together to deliver it.”
According to government figures, about 20% of people in the UK have accessibility needs, many of which could impact their ability to use digital platforms.
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