Getting on a plane when you have a disability – the best and the worst…

We want to hear your best/worst airline travel stories!

It’s not exactly news – air travel isn’t much of a treat if you have a disability. I’ve heard many times from wheelchair users particularly stories of wheelchairs getting lost or damaged, inadequate and undignified “solutions” for access. I even read the story of one traveller whose $25,000 power wheelchair was dropped 20ft onto the tarmac and destroyed while being placed in the hold! And then there are documented incidents involving guide dogs not being all that welcome on flights.

 

We’re trying to get the low-down from the average travellers who have a disability and build a picture of what the worst experiences are. We also want to know if anyone has had the some very positive experiences. This is for people who have any disability whether physical or sensory or both so don’t hold back. Post your comments below…

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Top 10 tips for wheelchair travel abroad - by an expert


Easily accessible, or not? That is the question

Air Access Concept

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Accessibility is an issue at most airports from the minute you arrive. when booking you ask for assistance but this only seems to start when you check in, so how do you get from a vehicle to check in with one person in a wheelchair that cannot self propel, the able bodied person transporting two cases and hand luggage cannot possibly push the chair too.

at one airport they took my mobility scooter from me and put me in their wheelchair, this was ok till they took me near the gate and asked me to sit on a seat so they could take the wheelchair away, with a two hour wait till our flight I said how do I get to the toilet then if you take the chair away, I got a look  that said "not my problem".

My scooter was damaged beyond repair coming off one flight, we were then given one of the airport wheelchairs to get me to the car, but no assistance to transport damaged scooter plus me in chair and luggage to get us to the car.

On a recent journey as usual we asked to be seated near the toilet, this was not granted and as we were seated in the front row just behind the first class passenger, of which there was 12 people, I asked if I could possibly use this for one visit as I had a major issue with bladder at this point (sorry for too much info, lol), my request was denied which then resulted in total retention and a hospital visit on landing.

I could honestly write a book on the pitfalls, we tend to find foreign airports are more helpful than our local ones, airport staff have a lot to learn about people travelling with any kind of disability and also need to learn that some problems are not visible

Wow. That's a pretty shocking indictment of our airports. Or perhaps more accurately the lack of support for travellers who have a disability. 

Maybe try Tokyo's Haneda Airport? It's supposed to be brilliant for accessibility.

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