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Sitemorse asks, “Where is the enforcement of digital compliance regulation in the airline industry?”

In violation of strict legal requirements, the airline industry is delivering extremely poorly when it comes to digital accessibility.

LONDON, UK, March 1, 2018 / -- In violation of strict legal requirements, the airline industry is hardly flying high, more not taking off… when it comes to digital accessibility, Sitemorse has found. This issue was highlighted by Sitemorse’s recent quarterly INDEX report, rating sites for digital governance, which assessed the digital capability of US and global airlines.

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) states that airlines must provide a high level of digital accessibility online – but Sitemorse’s analysis of the industry indicates that airline sites are not meeting these standards.

In the Sitemorse INDEX Q1 2018, 48 out of 60 airlines surveyed scored less than 5 out of 10 for accessibility. Meanwhile, 11 scored 0 out of 10.

The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA) is Title 49, Section 41705 of the U.S. Code. The act forbids commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities. New DOT rules from 2013 stated that domestic US and international air carriers serving the US had to have accessible websites and kiosks. Since December 2015, all core functions of an airline’s website have been required to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at levels A and AA. In December 2016 this was extended to cover all pages. When Sitemorse first assessed the landscape in late 2016, it found that less than 2% of pages were fully compliant while 0% of pages passed Level A accessibility.

What’s more, airlines appear to be delivering increasingly poor accessibility results over time. In fact, 19 of 56 airlines (34%) surveyed by Sitemorse scored 5 or more out of 10 in Q1 2017, while 22 of 59 airlines (37%) did the same in Q3 2016 (compared to just 20% in Q1 2018).

This begs the question of what is going wrong – and all the signs point to the fact that the legislation is not being enforced.

There are four reasons why this might be happening:

- The regulator is not pursuing non-compliant airlines
- The legislation is too complicated and hence it is being ignored
- The airlines are not bothering to comply
- The airlines are doing the best they can and are being told that they’re doing well by their suppliers

This issue raises serious concerns. After all, if airlines can’t get the basics of accessibility right, what else are they doing wrong? However, the real blame may well lie with the regulator.

Indeed, in the information that describes how to file complaints with the DOT, users are directed to a webpage that does not exist!

Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, said, “High standards in digital accessibility benefit everyone – and for the airline industry they are a legal requirement. However, it simply seems that the law isn’t being enforced.

“When businesses commission suppliers to create and manage web properties, they are forced to rely on them to build in accessibility standards. They then have to take their word that this has been done. All too often, though, and as we have seen, these businesses are being let down.

“What’s more, it appears that these issues are not being picked up by the regulator – meaning that everyone loses. We hope to see major changes in the industry in the near future.”

To see the full results of Sitemorse’s Q1 2018 INDEX for the global airlines industry, its online at:

About Sitemorse

Sitemorse helps organizations to efficiently drive improved user experience, ensuring that content is always optimised and that compliance requirements are always met. With clients in every corner of the world, Sitemorse sets out to remove endless reporting from Digital Governance and to instead provide actionable insights so that major changes can be made quickly.

The company has now been moving the field of Digital Governance forwards for over 15 years, while remaining privately owned, and continues to provide clients with new tools and capabilities every year. Most recently, this has included a focus on extending capabilities directly within the CMS, as well as addressing the governance / QA service issue of ‘endless reporting’.

For more information, please visit:

Sitemorse, 48 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NS
Telephone: +44 (0)77 2940 5889

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