An app which allows passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities to personalise the assistance they need has been launched at Edinburgh Airport.
‘Welcome’ by Neatebox allows people with disabilities to set up a personal profile and request assistance in advance from facilities and venues which recognise the app, such as Edinburgh Airport. Venues are notified of the request and receive top tips to aid the interaction with the passengers.
The app from the Edinburgh-based company, Neatebox, sends a signal to the airport’s Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) reception to notify staff that the passenger is on their way to the airport, so they can prepare for their arrival and offer a personal and respectful service.
It’s another addition to the airport’s provisions for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility to make the terminal open and accessible to all.
Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said:
“Airports take people from all walks to life to destinations all over the world, and it is our responsibility to ensure we have facilities that cater for everyone regardless of their needs.
“We’ve looked at how we can improve the wide range of services we already offer and introducing technology such as Neatebox allows us to extend that passenger care and tailor our service to those requirements.
“It’s also good to work with local businesses and implement innovative approaches to passenger needs – we pride ourselves on being innovative and we are confident our accessibility will continue to improve with the introduction of Neatebox. “
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman was at the airport to see how the app will help people with disabilities and said:
“The Welcome App is a great tool for disabled people and those with reduced mobility to communicate with businesses – and businesses to provide a personalised level of customer service. Tackling some of the everyday barriers that stop disabled people leading their lives to the full is something which we should all welcome.
“We have committed to ensuring people with a disability or reduced ability are able and supported to live their lives with freedom, choice, control and dignity. We cannot do this without organisations like Edinburgh Airport also taking responsibility to improve their accessibility. I’m sure this will make a real difference to passengers and encourage other organisations to follow their lead.”
Gavin Neate, founder of Neatebox, said:
“I could not be more excited about this opportunity to provide a service for not just disabled travellers but also the people who are tasked to support them. It is this totally inclusive approach to the provision of a service which allows me to visualise a time in the future where equality is neither given nor taken but is set as a default within our society.
“With over 80,000 people who could use this service travelling through Edinburgh Airport every year, many of them with “hidden” disabilities, we could not be in a better position to demonstrate this amazing service to the greatest number of people. We hope by doing so, we can promote Scotland as being the epicentre of this innovation.”
Ken Reid, one of the users of Welcome at Edinburgh Airport, said:
“As a blind person, I have many tools to help me make journeys, but often the hardest part is the last 50m.Where is the entrance to the place I’m heading for? The Welcome App notifies the airport assistance team that I’m on my way, and they can be ready to guide me in. I used to stand at the entrance and hope that someone kind would notice me and offer help, I no longer need to do that.”
Although Neatebox will allow passengers to request assistance from the airport’s PRM teams, passengers must continue to book assistance in advance through their airline or travel agent.
Edinburgh Airport recently became the first in Scotland to be recognised as Autism Friendly: https://www.edinburghairport.com/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/autism-friendly-award
Founded in 2011 by former guide dog mobility instructor, Gavin Neate, Neatebox looks to improve the lives of disabled people through the application of solutions using smart technology. With accessibility being built into modern smart devices as standard, Neatebox aims to address issues and help promote equality and inclusivity through the applications they produce. Welcome not only supports disabled people but also ensures that customer service staff is well trained in the interactions. Learn more at www.neatebox.com