Are you a wheelchair user and are planning to travel by air? Do not plan your trip without reading this guide on how to get a wheelchair at the airport.
People with disabilities or those injured may find flying an ordeal they cannot handle. If you’re unable to board a plane without assistance, you’ll need a wheelchair to do so.
Wheelchair services are now provided at airports due to heightened attention to the unique requirements of travelers with disabilities. Wheelchair users have been able to travel more comfortably and enjoy their vacations due to this change in the law.
Airlines and airports now provide a variety of choices for persons who need wheelchair support. To guarantee that you acquire a wheelchair at the airport, there are several actions and precautions that you must take. So, let’s look at how to get a wheelchair at the airport and all the steps you should take to make a comfortable journey.
Before the Date of Your Departure
- When booking a flight, choose the biggest aircraft that is available. With more than 60 people on board and two or more aisles, you’ll have additional choices for sitting and bathroom use.
- You may inquire with your airline regarding wheelchair assistance policies. Because almost every airline provides wheelchair service at airports, you must familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations and procedures to prevent any last-minute surprises.
- Request wheelchair assistance at least 48 hours before your flight. If possible, make the call as early as possible to avoid any delays.
- When you contact customer service, your reservation will be marked as “requires special attention,” and your departure, arrival, and transfer airports will be informed. Sometimes individuals who need an onboard wheelchair are limited on certain airlines, like Air China.
- Before you leave, think about what you’ll eat while you’re away. Before or even between flights, you might not be able to purchase food.
At the Airport of Departure
- The earlier you arrive, the better, particularly if you are going around the holidays. In the summertime and during the holidays, wheelchair personnel is often swamped with travelers needing their assistance, so be prepared to expect a few delays.
- Check-in, inspect your bags and pass through security ahead of time. Please don’t take it for granted that you’ll be allowed to go first in line at the checkpoint. You may also need to stand by for a wheelchair staff to assist you. Make a schedule and allow for additional time.
- Individuals who need wheelchair assistance may often use pre-boarding services provided by most airlines. To take advantage of the airport wheelchair service, you must notify the gate officials of your pre-boarding intentions.
- Your wheelchair attendant should know everything you can and can’t do before getting to the security checkpoint. In order to check your carry-on goods on the screening belt, you will have to stroll through or stand within the security screening equipment if you are able to stand and walk comfortably.
- You will be subjected to a pat-down screening if you cannot pass past the screening equipment or stand with your arms raised above your head. Requesting a private pat-down is possible. Your wheelchair will also be inspected throughout this process.
- At the boarding gate, if you use a wheelchair, it is probable that it will be inspected. Wheelchairs are not permitted on flights. Are you disassembling your wheelchair? Make sure you have the proper instructions on hand.
- You may board the airplane first if you need wheelchair assistance while flying. As a wheelchair user, it’s important to tell your wheelchair attendant and flight attendants what kind of assistance you require.
- Note that, in the United States, your attendant is not required by law to accompany you to a food establishment. Your wheelchair helper may or may not transport you to an eatery or fast food outlet. So check if you are able to bring your food on the plane if it’s convenient for you.
- Do not get off of the plane until everyone else has. You will be met by a wheelchair attendant who will carry you to your next flight.
- If you want to use the toilet on the route to your connecting flight, inform the airline that you are a passenger with a handicap who requires a restroom break.
- When you arrive at your departure gate, the wheelchair staff will accompany you to a washroom that is on the route.
At Your Destination Airport
When you get off the aircraft, your wheelchair attendant will be there to assist you. They’ll walk with you to the luggage claim. If you need to use the restroom, you must notify the attendant, as previously stated.
The person driving you to or from the airport may acquire escort permission from your airline. Escort permits, which look like airline tickets, are available. Passengers get these from airline employees at the check-in counter.
If you have an escort permit, your partner may accompany you to the departure gate or meet you at the arrival gate. Some airlines don’t allow escorts at all airports. Prepare for wheelchair assistance in the event that your partner is unable to get an escort permit.
How to Resolve Wheelchair Assistance Problems
Wheelchair assistance is needed by many vacationers. Some passengers who do not need wheelchair help are also utilizing it to bypass security checks, according to airlines.
Because of these factors, you may have to wait a long time for your wheelchair attendant to arrive. Allowing oneself adequate time to check-in and get through security is the best way to deal with this problem.
On rare occasions, wheelchair attendants have brought people to baggage claim or other parts of the airport and then left them there. In this circumstance, having a mobile phone preloaded with relevant phone numbers is your greatest protection. It’s best to get help if you find yourself in such a predicament.
You may request a wheelchair at the airport check-in desk even though airlines prefer 48 to 72 hours’ notice. If you have to seek wheelchair help at the last minute, give yourself lots of additional time.
Ask to talk with your airline’s Complaints Resolution Official if you have an issue before or during your flight(s) (CRO). Airlines in the United States are required to have a CRO to assist passengers with disabilities, whether in person or over the phone.
You might like to read: How to Choose a Wheelchair for the Elderly
There may be instances when you will want additional assistance getting to and from your flights. The walk through the airport may have been difficult since you stumbled just a few days before your departure. Wheelchair assistance at the airport will help you travel comfortably.
The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 requires that all airlines operating in the United States provide customers with impairments wheelchair service to and from their airport terminals.
Passengers on international aircraft leaving from or traveling to the United States must get the same level of treatment as domestic passengers. Even though regulations differ from country to country, most major airlines provide wheelchair assistance.
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