Air travel can be especially challenging for people with reduced mobility.Traveling in a confined space and making the transfer to an airplane seat can be overwhelming for people in wheelchairs. There are nuances and special requirements that must be taken into account during the process.
It is possible to travel by air with a wheelchair but certain safety and planning measures must be taken to make the trip comfortable and safe for the passenger and airline personnel. It is important to communicate in advance with the airline about the need of bringing a wheelchair and coordinate with them to ensure that there is assistance at the airport and space on the plane for the wheelchair. Airline regulations regarding chair battery and packing requirements should also be considered.
1. What is the cost of transporting a wheelchair on an airplane?
Traveling by plane with a wheelchair does not have additional costs to the luggage you travel with. Each airline, however, has specific rules so it is important to inform the airline staff in advance to take into account any particular requirements. It is important to notify the airline in advance to ensure its correct handling and guarantee a safe and comfortable trip.
2. How to transport a wheelchair on an airplane?
If it is a folding manual wheelchair, it will be allowed to be transported as carry-on baggage and can be checked-in at the counter. If it is a non-folding wheelchair, the airline will arrange for it to be transported as special baggage to ensure its safety during the flight.
3. An airplane seat that becomes a wheelchair
At Hamburg’s Aircraft Interiors Expo 2023, which took place from the 6th to the 8th of June, Delta Flight Products (DFP) showcased a full prototype of a first-of-its kind airplane seat that allows customers who use a powered wheelchair to remain in their own wheelchairs for the entire journey. DFP has partnered with UK-based consortium Air4All on the seat, which converts a standard passenger seat to an accommodation for wheelchair restraint. PriestmanGoode is design lead in the consortium.
Offering equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers has always been our objective.Daniel MacInnes, director of PriestmanGoode
Air4All is a consortium formed of PriestmanGoode, Flying Disabled, SWS Certification and Sunrise Medical. Each member of the consortium has a personal and professional commitment to bringing dignity in air travel for everyone. Through a combination of industrial design, passenger experience design, aircraft cabin and airport accessibility, aircraft certification and regulation; and wheelchair design and manufacturing, the consortium has been developing the Air 4 All concept since 2019.
“An innovation like this in air travel provides those with reduced mobility a safe and comfortable way for them to travel and remain in their own power wheelchair,” said Chris Wood, Founder of Flying Disabled. “It has taken a truly collaborative effort to develop this seat and we believe this product provides an optimal solution for all parties.”
The patented design offers comfort and safety for all passengers by providing access to headrest, center console, tray tables and cocktail table that adjust to serve passengers with wheelchairs in place. The product also enables airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat. Implementation of the seat will also facilitate a more seamless boarding and disembarking experience for people with reduced mobility.
Following the exhibition, the seat will be sent for final design and validation. Testing and certification programs to install the seat will begin once certified.