Campaign for Changing Places in airports

Campaign group: Leisure Options

Campaigning for: Changing Place facilities in Australian airports

Leisure Options is an award winning business that has been providing supported holidays and travel for people with disabilities for over 20 years. During this period, we have experienced numerous challenging moments at airports throughout Australia, but none more undignified than trying to toilet someone who has high support needs requiring a hoist to transfer. Unfortunately none of these experiences have pleasant outcomes, all of which could easily be avoided should an appropriate facility be present at all major airports to accommodate the needs of these aspiring travellers.

In 2012 Leisure Options had the pleasure of escorting a young lady from Portland, in regional Victoria, on holiday with us to the Gold Coast. Due to her support requirements and her reliance on her electric wheel chair, her flight schedule was complex. The only plane large enough to accommodate her and her wheelchair was an indirect flight from Melbourne – Sydney and then Sydney – Brisbane. On arrival in Brisbane she required further transfers to the Gold Coast. Her entire journey took over 12 hours and at no stage during her travels, since she left home, was she able to go to the toilet.

Whilst it’s not uncommon for any traveller to have long days flying around our beautiful country, they can at least go to the toilet, refresh themselves and prepare for the next flight. At NO stage from when we met with our traveller at Melbourne airport were we able to offer her the dignity of a toilet stop as there are no facilities available to perform a hoist transfer at any Australian airport. In Sydney, despite our requests, we were denied access to the airline’s eagle hoist which is used to transfer passengers into plane seats, even from the plane we were travelling on. Multiple other requests were made to obtain a hoist, all of which were denied by airline staff.

This is just one experience highlighting the inefficiencies at three of our major airports throughout Australia. We have a wonderful country that should be accessible for all to travel free from barriers.

How to support this campaign

You can support this campaign by sharing any relevant stories or experiences related to airports with the team at Leisure options – they will present your stories in their meetings with airport management. Contact Gary Elliot manager@leisureoptions.com.au to share your story or assist the campaign in other ways.

 

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