One billion people around the world have some sort of disability, according to the World Health Organization. Wunderman Thompson Data finds that 89% of people globally think that businesses need to design physical environments so that they are accessible to all. Tapping into demand from both within the disabled community and outside it, innovative travel companies are developing new ways to cater to all journeys.
The non-profit Mission: AstroAccess may have set itself the goal of sending a disabled astronaut to space, but just taking a flight can be hard work for those with apparent and non-apparent disabilities. On most airlines, wheelchair users are not permitted to stay in their own chair and must forgo it to the hold, often leading to damage. Design studio PriestmanGoode has collaborated with Flying Disabled and SWS Certification to launch Air 4 All, a new flexible aeroplane seating system which adapts to allow users of powered wheelchairs to remain in their own chair. Following the launch, PriestmanGoode has also unveiled accessible train interior designs for the Canadian operator VIA Rail Canada.
Hoping to make the pre-boarding stage easier, the King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia began offering flight notifications in sign language in April 2022. In February 2022, the Changi Airport in Singapore launched a series of initiatives to help those with non-apparent disabilities better navigate their airport, including a visual step-by-step guide for pre-departure and the appointment of Care Ambassadors who have been trained to spot and support passengers who may need extra assistance.