Finally, efforts to make airline travel truly accessible for folks in wheelchairs.
If I was the betting sort, I’d speculate that most people dependent on wheelchairs for mobility are apprehensive about traveling by air.
And with good reason. It is difficult.
While I do not have much trouble getting through the airport, cruising down the jet bridge and getting to my seat, I expect that many have had different experiences.
While I used to insist on staggering down the aisle to my seat, those days are behind me. Now, I rely on an aisle chair to move me around on the airplane. Once the aircraft backs away from the gate, it can get a little more complicated.
While I am told that there is a process for moving you around while in flight, I have never seen what this approach entails, so I cannot comment.
The one thing that I have heard dozens of times, from multiple travers that use commercial air: don’t eat, don’t drink anything for hours before your flight.
To an able-bodied person, you may not understand this strategy at first. To anyone in a chair who has done much traveling, it is obvious. Going to the bathroom is a herculean task. I expect that it is an impossibility for many.
Next up, I have heard my share of horror stories, detailing how airlines mangle wheel chairs, especially the heavier power models. This is a bad thing. When you are confined to a chair, it is truly your lifeline. Take it away, and you are in a very bad, sometimes dangerous place.
My guess is that for many disabled people, flying is off the table.
So, while talk does not mean action, I was pleased to run across this video. I think that it does a great job showing the human side of a disabled man and the tough road that he must travel. It is my hope that sometime in my lifetime, many of the obstacles facing the disabled will get ironed out, creating true equity for everyone.
3 thoughts on “Air Travel for the Disabled”
Hi, Thanks for visiting my site today. I belong to a group call Chronic Illness Bloggers that you might find interesting and supportive. We’re on Facebook and you can check out the website about the group at Chronicillnessbloggers.com. Take care. Melinda
I definitely had to make the decision to kiss air travel goodbye when I ended up more dependent on my chair. I am not able to self propel far with a manual one due to shoulder and heart problems, so my power chair is my mobility. In my case, I consider myself fortunate enough to have a bit of a buffer if something were to happen (20% mobility is still something), but losing my chair would still be a big deal if I was away from home.
Great to hear from you Sparrow. I hear you. I have gone through a couple episodes where they have seemingly lost track of my chair. Those unknown periods of time are pretty awful. And my chair is pretty indestructible. If I had one with more opportunity to damage. Well. That’d be likely too much risk. I hear you. It’s a huge problem. ADA cannot help much here….
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