By John Ensor •
Published: 07 Sep 2023 • 9:14
Stock image of British Airways staff member.
IS dementia awareness a priority for airlines? British Airways believes so.
On Wednesday, September 6, British Airways unveiled a fresh three-year alliance with Alzheimer’s Society, a leading UK charity dedicated to assisting those impacted by dementia. This organisation not only offers specialised support but also pioneers research and champions campaigns to prioritise dementia.
The collaboration, under the umbrella of BA’s Better World Community Fund, seeks to amplify awareness and gather crucial funds to bolster the charity’s endeavours. Moreover, it aims to enhance the travel experience for those living with dementia.
The airline is keen on introducing a plethora of services to cater to passengers needing extra help, reinforcing its pledge to mould a more dementia-conscious airline.
British Airways is set to collaborate with Alzheimer’s Society on several projects. This encompasses tailored customer service training focused on dementia for frontline staff and promoting the Dementia Friends initiative within the company.
This programme will equip the airline’s team with the skills to assist passengers, relatives, and peers affected by dementia. As the alliance evolves, the airline will introspect and introduce internal modifications to further its dementia-awareness goals.
The BA Better World Community Fund, which showcases the airline’s dedication to community investment, has welcomed Alzheimer’s Society as a beneficiary. Since its inception in April 2022, this fund has amassed over £3.4 million, extending support to over 170 charities throughout the UK.
For individuals grappling with dementia, journeying can appear daunting. Symptoms like confusion, memory lapses, and planning hurdles can lead them to feel disoriented or lost, even in known locales, heightening their sense of vulnerability.
British Airways patrons, Maggie and Rashmi Paun, once globe-trotters, have now limited their travels to familiar places following Rashmi’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Maggie expressed, ‘I think it’s brilliant that BA is collaborating with Alzheimer’s Society via the BA Better World Community Fund. The reality is that many are diagnosed with dementia, yet we still harbour the desire to travel as before.’
Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, remarked, ‘I’m thrilled about this alliance between British Airways and Alzheimer’s Society. Many of us have witnessed a family member endure dementia and are aware of the travel-related stress it can induce.
‘Through this partnership, we reaffirm our dedication to making travel accessible to all, while heightening awareness and generating funds for this commendable charity.’
Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, stated, ‘The urgency to address the dementia challenge is paramount. We’re excited to join hands with British Airways to enhance the travel experience for those affected. We eagerly anticipate this collaborative journey.’
Annually, over half a million passengers needing special assistance choose British Airways. The airline is striving to be the preferred choice for those with both visible and non-visible disabilities. This involves equipping staff with the necessary training to offer a smooth travel experience. Presently, 900,000 individuals in the UK live with dementia, and 50 million globally.
British Airways has channelled resources into services for passengers with diverse needs. They have a team dedicated to accessibility, aiding those with mobility issues, sensory impairments, and neurodiverse conditions. Dedicated check-in zones exist at London Heathrow and London Gatwick for passengers needing extra help. More information on how to request assistance when travelling can be found at www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/disability-assistance.
Individuals can contribute to Alzheimer’s Society via the BA Better World Community Fund at www.bacommunityfund.co.uk/alzheimerssociety. British Airways Executive Club Members can also donate using their Avios.
Until October 31, 2023, every donation of £1 or 125 Avios to Alzheimer’s Society via the BA Better World Community Fund offers a chance to win a dream trip to Dubai, inclusive of return Club World flights and a five-night stay.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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