Before embarking on a trip that includes air travel, it’s important that wheelchair users consider all the factors that will make their journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This will help PRMs pick the most appropriate airline based on its services, facilities and reviews to ensure a positive flight experience. It’s important to remember the level of support offered by airlines can differ.
Once an airline has been selected and the flight booked it’s recommended to inform the airline and airport at least 48 hours before departure of any additional assistance required, as the level of facilities available can fluctuate.
The government has put together the following information on what to expect at European airports. You should receive:
- help at specific arrival points, such as at terminal entrances, at transport interchanges and in car parks
- help to reach check-in
- help with registration at check-in
- help with moving through the airport, including to toilets if you need it
The elderly or those experiencing temporary illness or injury (broken leg e.t.c) will also eligible for the above help.
Furthermore, PRMs can travel with up to two items of mobility equipment free of charge as they are not considered as part of their baggage allowance. However, due to a variety of factors, PRMs are not permitted to take their personal wheelchair into the passenger cabin of a plane.
Because of this most airlines will equip long-haul aircrafts with on-board transit wheelchairs, such as the Airchair, to ensure PRMs can be comfortably transported around the plane during the flight. However, not all airlines provide these, especially if it’s a short-haul flight, so it’s important PRMs research which airlines have this type of equipment to ensure a comfortable flight.
If travelling with a battery-powered wheelchair, the airline, travel agent or tour operator should be informed as soon as possible as the batteries may need to be stored separately for safety reasons.
As a final tip, some airlines allow pre-boarding to help PRMs get comfortably seated. It’s worth checking ahead of time if the airline offers this.
For free government travel advice please visit: https://www.gov.uk/transport-disabled/planes