Airline websites fall short as DOT accessibility deadline approaches
US Department of Transportation in 2013 required that US and foreign air carriers must make their websites to the general public in the United States accessible to individuals with disabilities by this December; however, UserVision found that none of the sites complied with a WC3 benchmark required by the DOT.
Edinburgh-based UserVision has looked at the US websites of six global airlines in light of changes to the US Department of Transportation‘s accessibility rules.
The changes were passed in 2013 requiring “US and foreign air carriers to make their websites that market air transportation to the general public in the United States accessible to individuals with disabilities”.
Airlines needed to have their websites’ core functions accessible, under the new definitions, by December 2015. These functions include the booking engine, booking management tools, online check-in and access to frequent flyer information.
By December this year everything on the sites will have to comply.
UserVision’s research focused on the core functions. The topline findings from its analysis of LATAM Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Qantas, Delta and Singapore is that “the direction of travel that the airlines are taking is a good one and in time it is likely that the accessibility will be increased.”
Having said that, it found that none of the sites at the time of review complied with a WC3 benchmark which is required by the DOT.
It also noted that airlines were unlikely to have made the changes unilaterally, without the legislative imperative from the DOT.
Singapore comes out the worst, by some distance, scoring one out of five. UserVision notes “we wouldn’t want to say that there is a total lack of accessibility consideration but it is clear that not much has been done.”
In comparison, star performer LATAM Airlines “has put significant effort into [its] site to make it accessible in line with DOT requirements” and is the nearest to complying with the WC3 standard.
When the final deadline passes this December, the DOT is in a position to fine airlines which fall short of its requirements. Non-compliance can cost carriers $27,500 per day, per infringement, per page.
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