Samantha’s frustrations and hurdles she has had to jump through just to get tickets for Coldplay and her complaints about the inaccessible seating arrangements at Arsenal Emirates Stadium have prompted a response

The same section responsible for the Disabled ticket booking system at Arsenal are going to:

“… fully consider all the points raised by Samantha … about the problems she had with booking her Coldplay tickets, and I will respond in full in the next few days.”

A couple of days time is too late for Samantha the Coldplay gig on 1 June err that’s tomorrow.

One may call that progress to illicit a response that has been passed on by Arsenal Communications Team but it doesn’t inspire confidence when we had already been told by the Disability Liaison section that they:

  • have no control over the allocation of tickets for disabled fans
  • only received the stadium plans allocating disabled seating on the day tickets went on sale (18th November 2011 for the Arsenal gig)
  • don’t decide the seating plans

 It is impossible to see how anything can change. It’s not complicated but with venues, promoters and a range of ticket agencies involved it is.

  • Who decides the ticketing policy and concessions available?
  • Who decides the number of tickets allocated at each gig for disabled patrons or where disabled fans are ‘allowed’ to sit.
  • What are the promoters, venues and ticket agents doing to ensure they are working together with organisations like Attitude is Everything who are champions at improving access for Disabled and Deaf people to live music?

Attitude is Everything have a Charter covering everything from booking arrangements to ticket concessions and training. They even have a Bronze, Silver and Gold categories (see end of blog for more info). Check out their supporters there are a whole range of well known bands on there. Coldplay isn’t one of them but they do support Mencap and disabled causes.

So will Arsenal think about joining Attitude is Everything and improve their arrangements?

Ticket Agencies need to have a decent online booking systems need to be fair and easy to use by Disabled patrons. Staff need to know and be informed about what the ticket process is so when you phone you are not put on hold because they don’t know the answer.

Disability Awareness Training goes a long way to improving customer service. For bonus points put all the information about seating and disability access online so it’s available the same he same time tickets go on sale either pre or general release.

All of this is not rocket science but common sense.

Disabled people are put at a total disadvantage if they need a carer or personal assistant to go with them to a gig because of their access needs and the costs involved.

They can end up paying  double for the privilege if they want to bypass all the faff of dealing with booking accessible tickets for all the trouble it can cause (as in Samantha’s case). With tickets ranging from £45-£65 it is not cheap.

After all everyone else gets to chose where they sit so why can’t we?

Attitude is Everything Charter of best practice for venues and festivals includes

Bronze

  •  Accessible toilet(s)
  • Level access
  • An emergency evacuation plan
  • An accessible booking system
  • ‘2 for 1’ ticket scheme
  • Viewing area(s) / platform(s)
  • Staff can describe access
  • Accessible publicity and access information
  • Induction loop / infra red system
  • Accessible signage
  • Disability Equality Training for staff
  • Accessible Campsite (Festivals only)

Silver

  • Go beyond the legal minimum level of physical acces
  • Have an early entrance option
  • Backstage/stage accessAn accessible and diverse recruitment policy
  • An “Access Address Book”
  • Artistically accessible performances
  • Extend Disability Equality Training
  • Access to the performance
  • Extend access policies to partners

Gold

  • Become an Ambassador for Best Practice in Access
  • Long term commitment
  • Track effects of accessible recruitment and measure diversity