Nowadays, disability does not exclude flying. Passengers with disability are provided with a range of assistance while travelling by plain. However, to make sure that the trip will run smoothly both at the airport as well as on board, you need to know your rights and take some concrete steps.
While booking the flight tickets you should provide the information about what help is needed and expected. Such information should be shared not later than 48 hours before departure. Thanks to them airline can ensure that the proper assistance will be provided during the travel. If you wish to bring a wheelchair on board, you should also share as much information about it as possible (for example its type, weight, type of battery and so on). Furthermore, in case of long travel, it might be worth to consider booking shorter flights instead of one long haul one. Thanks to this, you can avoid challenges regarding an access to small and narrow toilet on board.
Once you are already at the airport, it is necessary to confirm earlier requested assistance during the check-in procedure. It might happened that your wheelchair could not be taken on board due to various security reasons. In such case, airline is obligated to provide you with another wheelchair.
Furthermore, you are entitled to priority boarding. If you travel by smaller aircraft, you will enter the board on a special wheelchair with braces. In case of larger aircraft, lifts are usually used. Airport staff will assist you until you are seated on your place. Airline is obligated to provide person with disability a convenient place. It is worth to remember that you can always require a different place, that is more suitable for your needs, if you don’t feel convenient about one already chosen for you. If you are accompanied by someone else, seats next to each other must be guaranteed.
You are entitled to assistance at the airport, during entering the board as well as upon arrival. For example, upon arrival airport staff will assist you from the displacement from the plane, through the baggage claim, up to the other mean of transport (car, taxi, bus etc.). Assistance is also provided in the case of connecting flights.
Airlines might require that people with disability to travel with an accompanying person. It is strictly connected with safety and evacuation procedures. Such requirement is strictly connected with passenger limitation, such as ability to reach an emergency exit or retrieve a life jacket in case of emergency.