Accessible Airlines, part 2 – Design decisions

This post is not about visual decisions. This post is about thought process how data is stored in an XML file and what categories of disabledness are in it. My goal wasn’t to exclude anyone so I picked the most comprehensive information I could find, Air France handbook, and designed the format according to it. I am sure that there will be some changes as I’ll be adding other airlines but I don’t expect a lot of them.

Why am I starting with Air France since there are other airlines I could choose? This is simple because my last and next flight is with them so it’s partly my personal preference. Also I have spoken to them quite a lot because I messed up my plane ticket and they were helpful. I could have started  with my favourite, if and until I get a service dog, Lufthansa but I am a bit angry with them. Or my passport country’s Czech Airlines but I am not sure if I want to fly with them anytime soon after my trip to Spain.

The second reason why I started with Air France is because they already have guidelines for disabled travelers in two different formats, web site and PDF. This compared to Czech Airlines’ one page guidelines makes it more robust. In my opinion it’s better to have some “N/A” for some airlines than to change the XML format as I go.

There was one thing I refused to add to a XML and that is recommendation for dyslexic people and people with other learning disabilities as is shown on Lufthansa’s website. They recommend for people like me to travel with a companion. Dyscalculia may prevent person to misjudge time between flights but they can still ask airport personnel to guide them through fastest route. Dyslexic person may have problem reading huge time tables but usually at gates there is someone who can provide verbal instruction, for some strange reason blind people don’t have the same recommendation. Dyspraxic people may need a balancing service dog but those Lufthansa doesn’t allow unless it’s a flight to/from US. End Lufthansa rant.

I have used 7 categories

  1. Service dogs (I really like dogs, so they were first)
  2. Deaf, Hard of Hearing, semi- and non-verbal (I am semi-verbal, similar group)
  3. Blind and visually impaired
  4. Mobility impairments
  5. Mental disabilities 
  6. Assistants
  7. Other (oxygen, what airline doesn’t help with)

I might add there communication channels and personal experiences in the future.  I will have to think about submission guidelines before anyone will be able submit their experience with certain airlines. Photo of a boarding pass or copy of conversation might good enough but that’s for version 2.0 and I am creating beta version right now.