Steps are being taken to make air travel for disabled passengers and their equipment easier after a year of horror stories in the press where people and their wheelchairs have been mistreated by airlines.
A new film has been launched so people considering flying with their powerchair can see exactly what is involved when taking a flight.
The film, produced by UK charity, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), shows every stage of the journey, from the preparation required, through check-in, security, boarding, in-flight and landing, as well as the assistance available.
QEF developed ‘Your Guide to Flying with a Disability’ with the Civil Aviation Authority and the airline and airport industry, with the aim of providing disabled people with the information they are missing, so they can make informed decisions and feel confident about taking a flight.
This film has been created in response to a growing need, highlighted by the numerous high-profile media stories throughout 2018 and reports that show that in 2017 there were 3m requests made for assistance at UK airports.
These requests are increasing at almost double the rate of general passenger growth.
QEF’s Accessible Aviation expert, Graham Race, said: “Our QEF Tryb4uFly service has already proven invaluable to many disabled people that have been anxious about taking a flight, but there has been a significant increase in demand for information.
“British Airways have already confirmed that they will make the film available to all customers who book wheelchair assistance.”
Paul Smith, director at the Civil Aviation Authority, added: “It is a priority for the UK Civil Aviation Authority to continue to improve the accessibility of air travel.
“As it shows every stage of a journey by air for a powered wheelchair user, we hope the film will answer many of the questions people currently have about flying as a wheelchair passenger, and increase the confidence to fly.”
In December, proposals for a new charter for airlines and airports were put forward by ministers to tackle the issue of damaged wheelchairs during transit.
If the plans come to fruition it would mean the £2,000 limit on payouts for damaged wheelchairs would be removed.