EasyJet has partnered with a 25-year-old entrepreneur to launch a new mobility device designed to help disabled people transfer safely to airline seats.
The easyTravelseat is an in-situ transfer seat invented by Josh Wintersgill that enables people with reduced mobility to use aeroplane seats safely, comfortably, and with dignity.
EasyJet’s adoption of the technology makes the seat the first such product to be used by a major airline.
Josh Wintergill’s AbleMove design was fully adopted by easyJet just three months after it won the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs, run by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The device is manufactured by AbleMove in partnership with the easy family of brands and is currently being retailed directly through the easyTravelseat website.
Wintergill received £30,000 in start-up funds from Sir Stelios to bring the design to fruition. The sling has been adopted into the easy family of brands after securing a brand license deal and private investment.
Sir Stelios said: “As is the often the case — the simplest ideas can be the best. Josh has had an idea, which is the near-perfect solution to the indignity, discomfort and embarrassment experienced by disabled people when trying to access aircraft seats.
“I’m very confident that easyTravelseat will soon become as synonymous for ease and comfort as Stannah has for stairlifts.”
Wintergill, who has spinal muscular atrophy, said he faces many physical challenges himself, but is determined to help disabled people overcome the difficulties associated with air travel.
“I want to provide a product that I know will help change people’s lives immediately, giving those people the ability to go and adventure the world.
“The last four months have been a steep learning curve but a highly rewarding one too. My life has changed completely — before winning the award I had to move house within the private sector which came with many challenges, to finding myself in a position where I am shipping easyTravelseats and looking to expand the business to a global reach.
“A great moment for me was being invited back to my old university to speak to students about entrepreneurship and inspire them to start their own businesses.”