If you’ve got a holiday planned this year, you’ll want to know which airlines offer the best access for wheelchair users. In this article, we run down our top picks for accessible airlines, alongside the compact wheelchairs that make air travel a breeze.
Flying Stateside: Virgin Atlantic
If you’re going on a city break to New York or Boston, or heading to Florida or California to soak up some sunshine, Virgin Atlantic offer a great service for passengers with limited mobility. Virgin Atlantic accept all mobility aids onto flights free of charge and will store compact wheelchairs in the cabin on flights with dedicated storage space..
On rare occasions where this is not the case and you need to check in your chair, the team are more than happy to assist you. Wheelchairs are made available from check-in to aircraft and the staff are more than happy to assist you in and out of your seat on board. Plus, there are spacious toilets on most flights
Cheap and Cheerful: EasyJet
For a European summer holiday on a budget, EasyJet is an excellent option for wheelchair users. Wheelchair users are able to take their own compact wheelchairs with them in the cabin on all flights and two pieces of mobility equipment are allowed on board free of charge.
EasyJet also supply special ‘boarding chairs’, which are specially adapted to fit down the aisle of the plane. Furthermore, if the flight is taking off from a remote stand away from the terminal, EasyJet have ambulifts to transfer you from the tarmac onto the flight. All of these great features can be provided by notifying the team via the ‘Special needs and access requirements request’ section when you book online.
Long Haul: Qantas
Possibly one of the best airlines for access is Qantas, which is useful as they’re a long haul carrier. So, if you’re planning to a big trip to the land down under, Qantas is the best choice for wheelchair users. Comprehensive support is provided from check-in to the aircraft so if you’re flying a long distance, you have the assistance you need from start to finish.
Some of the nifty features Qantas offers includes a reduced rate for both you and your carer; pre-flight editing that seats those with limited mobility near to toilets; and, service dogs are welcome on all flights. Furthermore, A380, B744 and A330 aircrafts feature toilets that are fully wheelchair accessible.
Compact wheelchairs: Making air travel a little more straight forward
Our recommendation for compact wheelchairs is Küschall. Their whole philosophy is focused around designing and manufacturing lightweight, easy-handling compact wheelchairs. Any of their range is excellent to travel with, however, the two models below are our top picks:
The clue’s in the title – the Küschall Compact is the chair from their range which dedicated to easy transportation. Including a one finger folding system which collapses the chair down to a tiny width of 29 cm, these compact wheelchairs are easily stored in aircraft cabin lockers.
The Küschall Champion is the world’s first fixed fold away wheelchair. The Champion’s unique horizontal folding mechanism makes the chair easy to collapse and stow, without compromising on comfort and handling. The Champion is folds down to such a small size that now most airlines are accepting the Champion on board as hand luggage.
Time for Take-Off
There’s no reason to let reduced mobility to stop you from going anywhere or doing anything. If you’ve got a big trip planned, or if you simply need to escape to the sun, these airlines and compact wheelchairs can help you fly in style. So what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than the present to start planning this year’s adventures.