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Coping with travelling with disabilities

I have watched with interest a recent series on channel 4 (titled ‘No Go Britain’) and when there was an episode about airports and travel my attention peeked. In this instance there was specifically a sizeable amount of coverage relating to the difficulties that people with disabilities have when travelling (the focus here being on their airport experiences from accessibility and general treatment by staff to actual case studies of extreme experiences endured). The main focus seemed to be on wheelchairs specifically and the additional difficulties that those using wheelchairs had.

This led me to think about travel tips for people using a wheelchair…

I guess a top tip for travelling with a wheelchair that is applicable to almost any travel tips and advice is to plan well in advance. Whether you are using a wheelchair and travelling alone or with a companion there are a number of things that you can look into in preparation for your travel. Check the accessibility for wheelchair access in all the key destination landmarks – this can include everything from the taxi or transportation to the airport to queuing facilities when boarding and actually getting the wheelchair stored on the plane.

If you have any specific travel medical needs then ensuring that you either have access to all of the specialist medical requirements within your own luggage or that all key destinations have easy access to this equipment should you need to utilise it. Ensuring this can save lots of potential hassle should you pack medical items in stored luggage as oppose to hand luggage.

When you get to boarding the plane make sure that you are provided with the facilities that airplanes are required to provide – this may change to some extent from provider to provider but access to stow away your wheelchair, having a chair located on the airplane aisle that is specifically purpose built for wheelchair users and having access to alternative onboard storage (where your wheelchair may currently be taking up the standard onboard storage facilities) are pretty much a standard.

Specialist travel insurance that covers medical aids including wheelchairs would be recommended just in case something unexpected should happen. It should cover the accidental loss, theft or damage but check the limit to ensure it would cover the cost of your wheelchair as well as other medical aids you may use such as a walking stick/frame.