Purpose.As a component of a training development project for intercity air travel providers, we investigated the capacity of the airline industry to meet the needs of travelers with disabilities by exploring: (1) the level of sensitivity among personnel to travelers' needs, (2) training currently provided, (3) areas in which additional training might be beneficial, and (4) organisational/systems-level commitment to dignified assistance to all travelers. Method.Forty-four airline/vendor employees participated in nine focus groups in four US cities. Groups were audio recorded and transcribed. A grounded-theory approach was used to develop a coding system which was then applied to transcripts to identify themes. Results.Factors influencing capacity grouped broadly into four areas: characteristics of the job/system, characteristics of current training, characteristics of providers themselves, and characteristics of travelers. At an interpersonal level, providers were empathetic and desired to provide dignified services. They lacked training and adequate equipment in some cases, however, and organisational commitment varied between companies. Traveler characteristics were also shown to impact service delivery. Conclusions.Results are promising but additional regulatory and organisational policies are needed to ensure quality services. Providers and consumers of intercity air travel services may benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas