Fair and Accessible Inclusion

Ticketek’s website talks the talk about accessibility and fairness, but ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Australian concerts highlights the lack of consideration given to disabled people requiring accessible seating.

In attempts to appear just and considerate in providing fair access to all fans, Ticketek promoted “helpful tips to give a smooth checkout” to Tay Tay Eras Tour tickets on their sales website.

All very above board and thoughtful for the hundreds of thousands who hit the Taylor Swift ticket sales website during both the pre-sale and general public sale dates…at least for able bodied fans.

However, for Swifties requiring accessible seating, their race for oversubscribed concert tickets was anything but easy and reeked of discrimination and unfairness.

Unable to choose seating locations and purchase tickets online, people with disability were instructed to complete the online accessible booking form made available when ticket sales opened. They would then apparently be contacted via a “dedicated support line” member to complete their purchase.

Sounds fair on paper right? Well, not really going by the experiences of the many Tay Tay fans requiring accessible seating. 

Blocked out of VIP ticket options as the result of rapid, high demand sales and allocated disability VIP package seating, disabled Swifties were once again locked out of Ticketek’s fairness policy.

With Companion Cards also not being honoured for these packages, the very few fortunate enough to get within arm’s reach of these dream tickets once again had road blocks thrown in front of them. Ticketek’s apparent stance on Companion Cards tending to be invalid in VIP sections, meant that support workers could not be accommodated – unless, of course, they also purchased the VIP package.  This challenges Ticketek’s website which outlines that government issued Companion Card holders may be eligible for a complimentary ticket allowing companions required to assist event attendance – on purchase of a full priced Ticket.

So for those who managed to get hold of accessible seating, time will show if they meet the needs of an audience requiring well thought out consideration. With concert goers typically ending up on their feet shows, will the views of people in these accessible spaces be guaranteed a clear line of sight to the stage and their beloved Tay Tay or to the Auslan interpreters?

Sadly the issue of accessible seating purchase and suitability is not something confined to Taylor Swift’s Australian tour. However, the ticket purchase experiences gleaned from her Australian fans living with disability, show that current protocols are inequitable and discussions between ticketing agents, venues and PWD must be brought to the table.

Whilst Ticketek, as Taylor Swift’s Australian ticketing agent, has been singled out in this instance, other agencies have also been tainted in similar ways by user experience. Current booking processes are inequitable and ticketing agents, venues and PWD must be brought to the table to discuss how accessibility can be fairly achieved.

It’s time for industry wide review and for audiences to be given fair and equitable access to events – regardless of ability.

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