Aurigny is making changes to its policies for Passengers with Reduced Mobility and Unaccompanied Minors, to protect the safety and welfare of all passengers. It is also introducing new measures and new fares to support passengers, if they need to be accompanied on a flight.
After considerable review and consideration, the airline has taken the difficult decision to close its Unaccompanied Minors service to children under 14, for journeys after Monday 5th November (following the October half term). Children aged 14 and 15 will continue to be able to fly unaccompanied, with minor administrative changes being made.
As an exemption, the Unaccompanied Minors scheme will continue on the short journey between Guernsey and Alderney.
This decision has been driven by child protection and welfare considerations and follows a majority of other airlines who have been forced to close their schemes. As a community-based carrier, Aurigny is aware of the impact this is likely to have, and although the number of children using the service is relatively small, we appreciate the implications for those families using it. Conscious of this, a new Child Companion fare scheme is being launched, to give concessions to adults who will now have to accompany children after 5th November. We are the only airline in the Channel Islands to offer this kind of support.
Key factors in making this decision:
- Since the introduction of our Unaccompanied Minors scheme, several decades ago, there have – rightly – been major advances in child protection requirements and legislation and it is our duty, as a responsible operator, to keep up-to-date with these.
- There have been significant issues when flights with Unaccompanied Minors have been disrupted, particularly if this involves an unscheduled overnight stop. In these cases, the airline has no choice but to seek assistance from Social Services to provide childcare support.
As stated above, Aurigny will continue to operate the Unaccompanied Minors service between Guernsey and Alderney, where there are family networks/responsible adults in place at either end and risk of diversion is significantly reduced.
In addition to this, a new Child Companion fare scheme is being introduced on all other year-round routes (seasonal services to Grenoble and Norwich are excluded), for adults that have to accompany a child on a flight. Under this scheme, the airline will provide a free ticket to the Companion for any “positioning” leg of the journey, i.e. where the Companion is travelling alone. For example, if a parent has to accompany their son/daughter for travel to a UK school, they will get the return leg of their flight (i.e. the leg without their son/daughter) for free. The ticket for the journey where they are the Companion (travel with the child) will be charged at the normal rate. Child Companion fares are available with immediate effect. See our FAQs section of the website for full details.
Assistance for passengers with reduced mobility
Aurigny has also worked with local disability groups to revamp its ‘Assistance’ policy, to provide more details of the support and assistance available to passengers with reduced mobility. This is available on the FAQs section of our website.
At the same time, the airline is launching a new Safety Assistant fare scheme, to support any passenger with a disability, injury or medical condition, who is unable to safely travel alone and needs to travel with another adult.
Again, under this scheme, Aurigny will provide a free ticket to the Safety Assistant for any ‘positioning’ legs of the journey, i.e. where no assistance is required, and the assistant is travelling alone. The ticket for the journey where they provide the assistance (travel with the passenger) will be charged at the normal rate. Safety Assistant fares are also available with immediate effect.
Rob Platts, founder of the Guernsey Disability Alliance, said: "The GDA has worked closely with Aurigny and other interested parties to assist the review of the airline's services for passengers with reduced mobility and other disabilities. Significant policy improvements followed, which will not only reduce barriers to travel but also ensure that requisite air safety standards are met. The GDA would like to thank Aurigny for its effective consultation."
Aurigny Commercial Director Malcolm Coupar said: “As a community airline, we felt it was important to offer these concessions. We will always do all we can to ensure travel is not restrictive for any members of the community and wholeheartedly believe that providing complimentary travel, in these circumstances, is the right thing to do.
“The decision to cease the Unaccompanied Minors service was not taken lightly, but was driven by child protection and welfare considerations, which we felt were impossible to ignore. Most other airlines have now ceased their own schemes for these very reasons, and following a lengthy review, we had no choice but to do the same, to safeguard the safety and welfare of our young passengers. We appreciate this is not a direct substitute for our Unaccompanied Minors service. However, it’s important for us to offer support to families affected by the change.”