Non-ambulatory passengers can still fly on airlines, but they'll need assistance getting to and from their seats on the plane. An aisle chair (also referred to as a high back or straight back) is a little wheelchair used to transport mobility-challenged passengers from their personal wheelchairs to their seats on the plane. Aisle chairs are employed during boarding and deplaning and can also be operated during the flight to access the bathroom.
When making a flight reservation, be sure to inform the airline of any unique assistance demands. For example, if you can't walk, they'll need to arrange assistance and an aisle chair for your comfort. Then, on the day you travel, introduce yourself to the gate agent and remind them that you will need preboarding help and the use of an aisle chair.
After your boarding pass has been scanned, you'll roll down the jetbridge to the aircraft door. Aisle chairs are parked beside the passenger's personal wheelchair to permit an easy side-to-side transfer. If you cannot perform the transfer yourself, the wheelchair assistance helpers are able to lift you into your aisle chair.
If you need to be lifted into an aisle chair, you can be confident that the assistance crew has been trained in appropriate transfer techniques – a mandate of federal law. You should still advise them of the best way to assist you. If any areas on your body are painful to the touch, be sure to tell them. Communication is vital! And, even if you are an experienced pro at air travel with a disability, know that they can't read your mind – they only want to help you.
Once you have transferred or been lifted into a chair, you'll be secured with a series of straps and buckles. These will be placed across your chest and legs for your security. While the aisle chairs are usually uncomfortable, you will only be sitting in them for a few moments at a time.
If you cannot walk or stand, it will be easier for you to choose a seat that is not a bulkhead (front row in any class of service) because their armrests are immovable.
If you do select a bulkhead seat, you will need to transfer or be lifted up and over one or more armrests to make it to your seat. Airline staff and booking agents will guess that the front row is ideal for a disabled passenger, but the row after the bulkhead (with movable aisle armrests) might be more comfortable. On flights longer than a couple of hours, selecting a window seat may also be best so other travelers do not have to step over you to access the bathroom. Always choose the seat that is best for your needs.
Use these air travel tips when flying with a wheelchair. Contact us today to learn more about our handicap transportation service in Plant City, FL. We are here for you.