First 30 Days Blog

09 may

Flying and Mobility for Those in Wheelchairs

RobertCordrayYou are likely wondering how you will catch your next flight if you have mobility issues. The airline industry is addressing concerns about mobility in many different ways, and these methods should enable you to catch a plane more comfortably.

The Wheelchair lift

Wheelchair Lifts have been used for years on buses to ensure that you can get on and off the bus. Whether you were at an amusement park or riding across the city, the bus likely had a special lift installed that allowed you to wheel onto the bus. These lifts are now being installed on airplanes to ensure that you can get onto any plane.

The Commercial Liner

Many small airports board their passengers on the tarmac. The small size of these airports forces the planes to board from the tarmac because the terminals are not as tall as the planes. Even in some of the largest airports in the world, there are flights that must be boarded from the tarmac for a variety of reasons. If you are in a wheelchair, you will not be able to get onto the plane without a lift.

Airplane personnel are currently being trained to use lifts that have been installed on the planes. The lifts are installed behind the wing or at the rear of the aircraft. A steward or pilot will lower the lift for you, allow you onto the lift and ride with you back to the airplane. Once on board, the airline staff will help you to your seat and stow your wheelchair for you.

Smaller airplanes have run into problems with lifts and storing wheelchairs because of limited space, but airlines are not retrofitting airliners of all sizes with lifts to make certain than passengers with mobility issues can board the plane. You do not have control over which plane is assigned to the route you wish to fly, and your mobility issues should be addressed by the airline.

Private Planes

Private jets that also board on the tarmac present a different issues for riders with mobility issues. You may be a few feet from boarding the plane, but you do not have a way to climb the few steps that are necessary to get on the plane. Lift installations help you to ride onto the lift, board the plane and take your seat.

On private planes, you will be more likely to sit in your wheelchair in a special area of the plane. Once in the air, the pilot may allow you to move about the cabin freely on your wheelchair until it is time to land.

Changes In Commercial Airliners

As stated above, commercial airliners are currently being retrofitted with lifts to accommodate passengers with mobility issues. However, you cannot expect that every plane you are to fly on will have a lift. The best thing for you to do is contact the airline and ask about mobility assistance on their flights.

Airlines who are alerted in advance can make accommodations for you, change your flight or even assign a new plane to make sure that your needs are met. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your problems will be solved, but you must ask the airline for assistance.

The future of air travel is mobility friendly. There are many passengers just like you all over the world who have problems boarding and disembarking an airplane. If you plan to travel, you can ask the airline for assistance. Plus, you should take solace in knowing that airlines are working very hard to equip all their planes with lifts that will serve you. In the future, all your air travels will be much simpler.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 9th, 2014 in New Directions | 0 comments

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