Changes Afoot for UK Travel Agents?

While perusing the online edition of the UK’s Travel Weekly, I stumbled across the travel agent sentiment about the full implementation of the EU access regulations in 2008. Well at least I think I did.

The article in question warns travel agents that when the EU regs are fully implemented next July, they will be required to inform the airlines at least 48 hours in advance if their clients have access issues that require accommodation. If they fail to do that, it could result in a fine of up to ?5,000. If however a travel agent books a disabled client on a package tour through a tour operator, the tour operator must inform the airline.

OK, let’s back up a minute here. It just seems like common sense for a travel agent to notify the airline if their client needs an aisle chair or wheelchair assistance at the airport or has any other access need. But apparently it’s not, as it had to legislated. That’s somewhat troubling, however it does explain why many clients fall through the cracks.

But at least the new legislation will take care of that. And more.

Apparently it also requires all travel agents and tour operators to at least provide a minimum level of website access to people with visual disabilities. Now that goes way above and beyond what’s required here in the US; however I also have to add that many companies voluntarily provide such access.

It’s an interesting regulation, as part of it addresses something that should be a standard practice as it’s common sense, while another part goes way beyond what’s already on the books in the US.

Well at least folks are addressing the issues, and that’s a very good thing. It can’t lead to anything but improved access.