Following my last blog entry, ‘Dear Newark Airport: This is an Accessible Toilet‘ where I was slightly dischuffed with the travel experience, I received a phone call from Karen a ‘Disability Specialist‘ with United Airlines’ ‘Customer Care team’. We had a pleasant conversation. Karen had read the blog entry and been in touch with Newark Airport management for further information.
Apparently there is an accessible toilet, “right before gate C130” however, it is agreed that there isn’t adequate signage. Hopefully this will be addressed. As I said to her, in addition to better signage by the accessible toilet itself, a simple sign by the normal toilets, explaining where to find the accessible toilet, would help too, which Karen agreed would be sensible. If anyone travelling through Newark in the next couple of months, could let me know if that happens, it would be interesting to get further feedback!
Newark apologised that their member of staff had been unaware of the existence of an accessible toilet on Concourse C and hopefully staff will receive training/awareness update (although to be honest, adequate signage would render that point moot).
With regards to the security checks issues, Karen had been informed by airport management that they are currently undertaking refurbishment, which is resulting in longer than normal queues at security and the tighter lines. She appeared to accept my point that making wheelchair users queue with other passengers, but then have to wait longer because they can only use a specific machine and for staff who can use the ‘swab machine,’ is added time and inconvenience. Karen acknowledged that “most” airports allow wheelchair users to ‘fast track’. Whether Newark Airport will also accept this and change their policy on how wheelchair users queue I wasn’t sure.
I took the opportunity in the conversation to compliment the air crew, who on each flight were excellent. This will be fed back to the crews.
Following the conversation, I received an email from Karen which you can read below. I’ve always said that ‘stuff goes wrong‘, it’s how organisations that deal with ‘stuff‘ that makes the difference. While my concerns weren’t with United Airlines in the first place and I certainly hadn’t expected any kind of compensation, their response was excellent and the offer of a US$100 travel voucher is appreciated in the spirit it was offered. However the personal phone call and the fact that the concerns had been taken up with airport management, had already been suitably positive.
Ten out of ten for United Airlines & hopefully Newark Airport will take the feedback on board, at bear minimum adding some signage.
Dear Mr. Fitton:
Thank you so much for speaking with me today. I am sorry to hear about your negative experience when traveling with us through Newark airport on January 17-18, 2019. We strive to make travel for our customers as pleasant and seamless as possible. In your case, this didn’t happen.
As we discussed, Newark airport terminal C does have a wheelchair accessible restroom in terminal C, right before gate C130. Although there is no violation of federal disability regulations as this airport is accessible, I agree that there should be some signage to let customers know where this is located. I have passed this along to my colleagues at Newark airport for their review. Additionally, I have passed along your compliments to the inflight staff on all of your flights so that they can be recognized as well. We certainly appreciate those comments as well, and I thank you.
We’re committed to ensuring all our customers have access to the same services. Each airport has trained agents (Complaint Resolution Officials, CRO) who are available upon request to resolve service issues for customers with disabilities. In the future, please ask for a CRO if you need assistance.
• Prior to travel, you can view information on united.com > Travel information > Special travel needs.
• You can also contact a CRO 24/7 at (800) 228-2744.
Mr. Fitton, I assure you that it is never our intent to inconvenience our valued customers or to cause them distress of any kind. As a gesture of goodwill, I will be sending you an electronic travel certificate for $100 valid towards your next United Airlines purchase. I hope this is accepted in the spirit intended; as a tangible means of United acknowledging your disappointment in regards to this matter. You should receive this via a separate e-mail in the next 24-48 hours.
Despite this negative experience, we hope to have another opportunity to provide the quality service you expect and deserve.
Complaint Resolution Official (CRO)
DOT/Disability Specialist – Corporate Customer Care