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Aeroplane Access - Through The Eyes of a Wheelchair User

Blue skies, view out of EasyJet aeroplane window

Why are airlines so shite? I like to live by the motto “catch flights, not feelings” - but at this rate, I can’t do either.

Disabled access has come so far in the last few years, but when it comes to travel - we have a long way to go!

Wheelchair users can now stay in their chairs whilst in their car, on the bus, on the train - so why can’t aeroplanes also cater to this so-called “luxury”?!

I’ve been inspired to write this post after my recent trip to Corfu. The awkwardness, discomfort and embarrassment of trying to access a regular seat on the plane is so wrong. For those that don’t know how the current system works, let me explain.

Clipart of a wheelchair and aeroplane symbol

Just before boarding the flight, all those who require assistance are taken off in a special vehicle, where a platform rises in order to access the plane.

From here, my wheelchair gets taken away into the luggage hold and I have to transfer onto a miniature-aisle seat. Trust me when I say MINIATURE guys, i’m talking about barely fitting an ass cheek on.

For somebody with balance/mobility issues it is incredibly frightening when airline staff are lugging you around without a care in the world.

This chair (and my massive ass) are then squeezed down the small walkway between passengers, towards my seat.

This in itself is enough to put you off ever travelling again.

If it wasn't for my personal lifting seat and my parents super-strength, I wouldn’t have been able to transfer at all.

Aeroplane landing in Corfu, sunset views

I’m just so confused as to why wheelchair users cannot remain seated in their chairs?! They have all the measurements and information regarding batteries etc beforehand - so there’s no reason why anybody should have to go through any of these transfer issues.

It’s honestly so simple. All you need to do is remove a few extra seats on the aircraft and install some tracking on the floor in order to tie-down/secure the chair.

It sad because as lovely as it is to go away, there’s an almighty amount of stress at either end of your holiday due to the worry of getting on and off the plane.

One year, the airline even damaged my chair that it no longer worked when we got to the other end…

In my past experiences as a disabled passenger, I have always been loaded onto the plane first, which gives you plenty of time to transfer without an audience.

However this time, both flights we were last to be loaded, and generally made to feel like a real burden.

It’s the 21st century and it makes me sad that I even have to write this post. It's time for the aviation industry to up their game!

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