AT Today - Sarah Sarsby
Air travel and airports are not readily designed for ease of use by those in wheelchairs. The terminal can be relatively accessible for travelling around, but it’s getting onto and off the plane where the challenges arise. A jetway has to have the flexibility to access different models/sizes of aircraft. Space is at a premium with aircraft designed to fit in as many people as possible at a time, and with no available space inside the seated area of the plane for a wheelchair. So what’s the best that a wheelchair occupant can hope for, and what are the chances that things will get better in the future?
One to two per cent of people who travel by air worldwide are classified as a ‘Passenger with Reduced Mobility’ (PRM), and five to seven per cent of these are wheelchair users. This amounts to about a quarter of a million UK passenger flights in a year. Shockingly, only 25 per cent of respondents to a survey of wheelchair users (carried out by ableMove and FlyingDisabled) indicated that they had had a good flying experience