Treacherous Travel as a Disabled Passenger

April 6, 2018

With summer on the way, Allied Mobility looks into the problems faced by disabled travellers.

Booking a Break

Travelling is one of life’s greatest joys.  Reasons for it being such a rewarding experience range from relieving stress, to learning about different cultures.  As summer approaches, millions of people are preparing to escape the daily grind for a week or two.  Travelling as a disabled passenger comes with its own stresses and worries – packing the essentials, finding an accessible destination, booking suitable hotels, arranging modes of transport – never mind everything else.  After all the planning and preparing, you’d expect an enjoyable experience.  However, countless horror stories of holidays gone wrong for disabled travellers, are never far away.

Recently, a BBC reporter was stuck on a plane for over an hour due to an error, which meant his wheelchair was not brought to the plane after landing. Passengers’ wheelchairs are often put in the hold baggage area if there is not enough room on-board.  This can leave wheelchair users feeling anxious, in case their chair is lost or not brought back to them in a timely manner.

Another issue with having a wheelchair placed in the hold, is the threat of damage to a person’s only means of mobility.  Journalist, Mike Scarlet, wrote about the countless times his wheelchair had been damaged during flight and no responsibility was claimed.  Mobility devices are not cheap and having to replace them after being on holiday is not always a viable option for people – nor should it have to be.

Getting to the Assigned Seat

As passengers’ wheelchairs are often held elsewhere on the aircraft, they must find another way to board the plane and get to their seat.  Cabin crew usually assist with an adapted chair and lifting the wheelchair user into their seat.  Passengers with mobility issues should be boarded before the rest of the plane.  However, sometimes crew members do not stick to this policy and can be quite problematic when it comes to seating disabled travelers.  Ross Lannon, a lifestyle blogger from Cornwall, shared his horrific experience on recent a flight home.  He stated how staff did not allow him to board first and instead rushed him through the plane and he was carried with such disregard that he hurt his legs on the chairs in front.  Ross commented:

“The cabin crew were extremely disrespectful in their comments and offered no alternative seating or compassion.”

“The cabin crew were extremely disrespectful in their comments and offered no alternative seating or compassion.”

The attitude from some staff seems to either worsen or alleviate the experience for disabled passengers and there is obviously in inconsistency within the airline industry, as to what this level of service should be.

Inconsistency and Required Improvements

Travelling is something that many of us can’t imagine our lives without, no matter our background.  Passengers who are disabled should not have to worry about extra things, on top of the usual holiday worries.  Air travel, along with the support and assistance for those who need it, has greatly improved throughout the years.  It is, therefore, disappointing that these passengers’ stories have shown that improvements still need to be made.

 

 

 

 

 

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