Travel is universal, anyone and everyone should have the chance to experience that feeling all wanderlusters have when they step off the plane into a new adventure. Physical, visual, or hearing impairments shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world. So when flying can be stressful enough without the added stress of having to navigate through security in a wheelchair or trying to lip-read the air steward as they give out key safety information, it’s important to know who is going to make your journey as stress-free as possible.
After a little research, it seems that most airlines try to offer some sort extra help for disabled travellers. However, it seems that almost always the airline needs to know in advance what kind of extra help is needed so they can prepare and make your journey go as smoothly as possible. It is advised to give the airline at least 48hours notice so they can gather the support you’ll need for your flight. When booking keep an eye out for hidden costs. Most airlines will offer you seats with more room if needed to make your flight more comfortable, however, some may try and charge you for this, or offer it free but then charge when the plane fills up. To avoid hidden costs always make sure you know what you’re buying and what the deal is, don’t be afraid to ring up and ask, it’s always better to know than get caught out!
Some airlines do a much better job than others when it comes to providing an accommodating and friendly service to all of their customers, especially for those with disabilities. In terms of choosing airlines, EasyJet appears again and again in searches for the best airline for disabled people. This is great news, as a EasyJet offers flights all over Europe and at low prices. EasyJest can offer help when you arrive at the airport and also provide help boarding the plane in a wheelchair if necessary. EasyJet also accommodates for those who are visually impaired providing safety instructions on board in both audio and braille. EasyJet is also one of the first airlines to provide extra training for their staff to ensure they are aware of the importance of lip reading for those with hearing imparities.
For longer distance flights, Air Canada, Quantas, Continental Airlines and Virgin Atlantic also provide good services for those with disabilities. Air Canada, Continental Airlines and Quantus welcome service animals, with Continental Airlines offering an onboard kennel to make your furry helpers more comfortable. Virgin Atlantic also allow service animals however only on major routes. Quantus not only allow for service animals but if you also need a carer, both of you will be able to travel at a discounted rate. As well as this Quantus offer care from the moment you arrive at the airport and early boarding with help getting into/out of your seat if necessary.
No one should feel as though travel is not accessible for them. There are plenty of websites out there that have accounts of people sharing their stories of travelling with a disability. Research, prepare, and get ready for the best trip of you life!