Hello, I am thinking of travelling by air but have some concerns…
As I understand it your regular chair is left at the aircraft doorway and you have then to transfer into an an aisle chair which is narrow enough to fit between the rows of seats then you some how transfer into a regular seat, if the seat arms on the aisle are fixed horizontally ( which from past experience is the case ) does this mean you have to negotiate the arm alone are are you lifted over by airport staff ?
Also as I use water pack catheters two weeks supply weighs a lot – will such items count in baggage allowence ?
I do realise that the answers to these questions may vary from country to country and within different airlines, so could you be specific in your answers please, many thanks Steve
If you go to specific airline and airport websites and look up Special Assistance that will tell you their polices and give you notes on regulations. In my experience some airlines will relax the rules and let you on board in your own wheelchair (depending on weight,battery type and size). Some airports will help you into your aircraft seat from your wheelchair vice versa (take your own sling), others wont. Some airports have an Eagle Hoist which is like a normal hoist, it is used to transfer you from your wheelchair to the aircraft chair. Do as much research about the airline and airport as you can, each one differs.
Hi Steve, It is the responsibility of the airport assistance team to help you on to or off the plane. When you book your flight online you specify what kind of help you need. The airline pass that information on to the airports. Airlines typically allow you to take two items of mobility equipment and a bag containing medical supplies separate from any hold luggage you take. Once you have a booking reference you must call the airline special assistance helpline and they will explain what you are allowed to take in addition to your regular luggage. For example Easyjet may ask you to obtain a letter from your GP detailing the supplies you use, to show when checking in your medical bag. They will certainly ask for the make and model of your wheelchair (if it is a powered chair) to check size and weight and make sure it is not too big to be loaded into the hold and also to check the battery type.
Transferring between chair and aisle trolley and airplane seat is usually done by two assistants lifting you in a way that is often undignified or at best un-stylish. I take my wheelchair cushion onto the plane and sit on that to reduce the risk of skin damage.
There is helpful travel info on this website under the LIVING WITH SCI section, but I would second Anjela’s good advice – check everything with the airline and research the airports too.
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