Guide to Selecting the best flights for wheelchair users

best flights for wheelchair users

More and more wheelchair users are now traveling and flying locally and internationally since it’s become more accessible. Most airlines have made several adaptations to their services and fleets to offer inclusive flights for wheelchair users. 

This blog post from Gilani Engineering will provide you with several tips on how you could ensure you’re booking a flight in a disability-friendly airline.

Make sure the airline is wheelchair friendly

If your destination is included in several airline routes, you have the option to choose which of these airlines is the best airline for wheelchair users. Do your due diligence and research about the airline’s accessibility. 

Not all airlines are equal and even if some may claim to be inclusive, certain airlines go above and beyond to accommodate passengers with mobility issues and offer related services such as:

Wheelchair assistance services

Most airlines’ websites indicate their accessibility and inclusivity by mentioning the services they provide to wheelchair users like Singapore Airlines wheelchair assistance. By booking your flight with an airline that offers such services, your check-in, boarding, disembarking and retrieving your luggage will be much easier. 

Guide to Selecting the best flights for wheelchair users
Guide to Selecting the best flights for wheelchair users 1

Special requirements accommodation

Electric wheelchair users have different requirements and not all airlines can accommodate special wheelchairs, especially those that may require different handling. The best airlines for wheelchair users are those that can accommodate the special requirements of disabled passengers, especially those who would also need to bring other mobility aids.

Consider the airport’s accessibility

When trying to book a flight as a wheelchair user, the airport’s accessibility must also be a consideration. Research about the airport’s departure and arrival area, if the bathrooms are accessible, if the pathways are wheelchair friendly and the pathways are as wide as how wide is a wheelchair, the waiting areas have ample spaces to maneuver a wheelchair, etc. If your flight has an option to land at a bigger or smaller airport, opt for the flight that would land at the bigger airport as bigger airports are sure to have complete amenities.

Consider a seat that is best for your need

Most airlines let you select your seats before your flight. Choose one that is best for your needs such as close to accessible restrooms or seats with more legroom. You can also consider the aircraft’s interior since some models have wider aisles for easier maneuverability of an aircraft wheelchair. 

best flights for wheelchair users

Wheelchair handling and transport

Before booking a flight, check the airline’s procedure for handling and transporting a wheelchair. Some wheelchair users may be asked to leave their wheelchair on a wheelchair ramp gradient before boarding the plane and transfer to an aisle chair to get to their seats especially if their wheelchairs need to be checked in. 

Knowing about the airline’s regulations when it comes to handling and transporting your wheelchair can give you peace of mind or whether you need to purchase additional travel insurance for your chair. 

FAQs

How do wheelchair users get on planes?

Wheelchair users can still use their wheelchairs before embarking on planes and will just be asked to leave their chairs and transfer to an aircraft wheelchair at the gate. Their wheelchairs will be checked in together with their luggage and will be available and ready for them at their destination.

Where do wheelchair users sit on planes?

Wheelchair users usually sit on aisle seats near accessible bathrooms or on seats with extra legroom. There are no specific seats where they need to sit although they aren’t allowed to sit near the emergency exits since only able-bodied passengers are allowed in these seats to help during emergencies. 

Can wheelchair users fly?

Yes! Wheelchair users can fly since most airlines provide assistance to wheelchair fliers and have made accommodations to their fleets and airports to be more accessible.

How do wheelchair users fly?

Wheelchair users fly the same as other able-bodied individuals. However, they will require some preparation before the flight such as booking wheelchair assistance services before the flight to inform the airline a wheelchair user will fly with them.