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British Airways has held the first meeting of its new Customer Access Advisory Panel, aimed at engaging with members of the community to improve the end-to-end experience for its customers with accessibility requirements. The airline is committed to delivering a seamless experience for everyone and is dedicated to ensuring that its accessibility offering meets the diverse needs of its customers.
The independent panel, comprised of individuals with both visible and non-visible disabilities, met in person for the first-time and will come together every few months to provide invaluable feedback and discuss and review new initiatives, to ensure that British Airways’ products and services are designed and built with accessibility and inclusion front of mind. From IT solutions to airport and onboard experience, the panel will play an important role in shaping improvements within the airline and provide practical recommendations on best practices for inclusivity, informed by evidence and supported by lived experiences.

The panel is chaired by Mary Doyle, who is dedicated to providing organisations with practical support around inclusivity. Mary is also a proud wheelchair user and accessible aviation consultant, with a 25-year service delivery management background, which took her worldwide.

Other panellists include:

Simon Houghton, a behaviour change consultant who was born deaf. Simon launched ‘WeSupportDeafAwareness’ during COVID and is the founder of UnseenAware, a movement designed to create an inclusive experience for customers and employees with disabilities that people don’t see
Paul Hayman, an international Chief Financial Officer with more than 30 years’ experience. Paul is a frequent traveller and as someone with autism who finds air travel challenging, he is keen to help members of the neuro-diverse community by educating others
Dom Hyams, Global Client Director at Purple Goat, the world’s first and only social-first inclusive marketing agency. Dom is the founding editor of the Disability Power100 - Power List of Disability, which showcases some of the most influential disabled changemakers in society
Neil Barnfather MBE, a renowned entrepreneur and accessibility advocate. As a blind entrepreneur, Neil understands the challenges faced by disabled travellers. He couples this lived experience with an impressive background in technology, innovation and business transformation across sectors including telecommunications, fintech and aviation
Jennie Berry, a content producer and wheelchair user who shares her everyday experiences to educate others about living with a disability. Jennie is the Head of Community at Sociability, an app that helps those with a disability find accessible places
Xavier Mascarell, Customer Accessibility Strategy Manager at British Airways and founder of the Customer Access Advisory Panel, said: “British Airways carries hundreds of thousands of customers who require additional assistance each year. We work hard to remove barriers and support customers with accessibility requirements throughout their journey but know there is more work to be done. The insights and recommendations we receive from our advisory panel members will be vital to improving our accessibility offering. We want to ensure a positive flying experience for everyone and we hope the learnings we gain through these meetings will drive further change.”

Mary Doyle, Chair of the Panel, said: “I’m over the moon to support British Airways as Chair of its new Customer Access Advisory Panel as this demonstrates a visible commitment from the airline’s leadership to make flying more comfortable and dignified for everyone. Tailoring the customer experience is key to our success, as disability is not one size fits all. We have a great team of professionals with lived experience on the panel who are curious, innovative and put the customer at the centre of all decisions. This team is committed to helping British Airways learn directly from the disability community and we’ll have some fun along the way.”


This new panel is just one of the many ways the airline is working to improve its accessibility offering. British Airways has invested in a range of services to support customers with accessibility requirements. It has a dedicated Accessibility team to provide specialist support for anyone who needs it. The airline offers assistance with mobility, and to customers who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind and with low vision, and other non-visible disabilities or conditions.