The UK produced a film helping wheelchair users to flight
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in conjunction with the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, has prepared a special film explaining in detail all the steps of travelling by air and the support available for passengers with wheelchairs. The authors paid special attention to powered wheelchair users.
According to a survey conducted by the CAA, 57% of people with disabilities find flights and staying at the airport quite difficult. The 16-minute video provides passengers with all the necessary information regarding flight preparation, pre-flight formalities at the airport, services available on board the aircraft, and arrival.
The film’s heroes, a young man named Jon and his father, fly from London to Manchester. Jon uses an electric wheelchair, along with them, viewers will go through all the stages of their journey from the moment they arrive at the airport - parking, calling an assistance service, checking in for a flight, checking in baggage, checking security, boarding a plane, flying, disembarking an aircraft, meeting and assistance at the airport of arrival.
Such a detailed video instruction should serve as a good helper for passengers with wheelchairs for flights in Europe.
In 2017 there were three million requests made for assistance at UK airports.
The authors of the film advise passengers to think about several key points before buying a ticket:
- Ask your doctor if your state of health allows you to fly? The airline may ask you questions about health when buying a ticket.
- How developed is the accessible environment at your destination? Study information about the accessibility of transport, hotels, public places for people with wheelchairs in the city or country of destination.
- When booking and buying a ticket, discuss with a representative of the airline the possibility of transporting additional equipment that you need - a wheelchair, crutches, an electric chair or a walker for support. All European airlines allow passengers to carry two pieces for people with limited mobility free of charge.
- The airline will also ask you to provide information about the model, weight, battery type and other characteristics of your wheelchair (if it is powered). This information must be carried with you during the trip, as it will be needed at different stages of the journey.
Advice from the creators of the video: it is best to print this data on a piece of paper in the language of the destination country, and laminate it so that ground services can quickly find their way. Airport staff will also ask you how to turn the battery on and off - this is the necessary information that you will need to provide.
- Ask your doctor to give you a certificate or a cover letter if you need to carry more than 100 ml of liquid medicine in your carry-on baggage, as safety rules do not allow you to carry larger volumes of liquid. Take with you all the necessary medicines with a reserve in case the flight is delayed, and you have to spend more time on the road.
- Study in advance the scheme of the airport to know the location of the accessible toilets.
- When booking a ticket - by phone, through a travel agent or online, do not forget to request the assistance service for passengers with low mobility at the airport of departure and at the destination. This must be done at least 48 hours before departure.
- Plan your arrival at the airport so that you have enough time to go through all the necessary formalities - check-in, passport and customs control (for international flights), security control.
You can watch the film on the official website of the charity fund (in English, with subtitles):